Bathabile Dlamini ordered to pay 20% of Sassa debacle costs, NPA must decide on perjury charges

The Constitutional Court has ruled that former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini is liable for about 20% of the costs incurred during the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle according to News24.

The court also found that the National Prosecuting Authority must decide on whether to charge Dlamini for perjury.

According to eNCA in 2014 the Constitutional Court found that Sassa’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was illegal.

They were given until the end of March to find a new provider – a deadline which was then extended for another six months.

Moneyweb reports that Black Sash argued that Dlamini failed to explain why Sassa only approached the courts for this extension in February, when she knew two months before that they couldn’t find another service provider.

IOL reports that last month that Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu and Sassa should bear the costs of another urgent application to extent the agency’s contract with CPS.

My Take

I think is a pretty important step for our country.

Up until now our political leaders have been fine with going to court because if they lose, it is generally the taxpayers who have to foot the bill.

This is good news going forward – because it means that our leaders have some skin in the game if they continue to flaunt the law.

I find it difficult to see Dlamini’s actions throughout the whole Sassa mess as anything but doing that.

Sassa’s contract with CPS was declared illegal in 2014 – that’s four years for the agency and the minister to get their acts together.

Instead we ended up with repeated court cases where Dlamini was essentially ordered by the courts to do her job – and the contract was extended as she didn’t.

Now the thing is, I don’t know what 20% of costs actually is – because I can’t seem to find any reports on what the total costs were. Nearest I could see was a vague “millions” from Moneyweb.

So this may well work out to being more a win in terms of the precedent it sets than the money it nets – but it is still an important precedent which hopefully get used in future when more of our leaders take the courts so lightly.

  • Picture courtesy of GCIS via Flickr.

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