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A guilty verdict meted out to Bathabile Dlamini should serve as a wake-up call to politicians: no one is above the law, says the DA

Democratic Alliance (DA) warns politicians to remember that they hold public office at the behest of South Africans, and that Magistrate Betty Khumalo’s ruling that former Minister, Bathabile Dlamimi is guilty of perjury should serve as a reminder that no one can claim to be above the law.

The Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court has found former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini guilty of perjury for lying under oath during the inquiry.

In a statement on Thursday, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango said her party laid charges against Dlamini in 2018 following the investigation into the 2017 South African Social Security Agency ()SASSA) grant scandal, led by retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe.

An application was filed in the ConCourt by Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law, concerning the SASSA and Dlamini’s unwillingness to appoint a service provider for the distribution of social grants.

Masango said millions of vulnerable citizens are reliant on their SASSA grants, and the responsibility of caring for those individuals should never be taken lightly.

“We believe this judgement should act as a wake-up call that no one is above the law. The DA now awaits the sentencing ,” said Msango.

Advocate Jacob Serepo, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, submitted testimony in collaboration with Captain Tlou Martin Nailana and Sergeant Deon Mbhalati of the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation Unit.

The court found that his evidence was true and reliable and the defence did not reject it.

Dlamini chose not to testify in her own defense.

Instead, she decided to call former SASSA project leader Zodwa Mvulane who, according to Khumalo, conceded during her testimony that there were contradicions between her evidence in court and Dlamini’s statement during the inquiry.

Magistrate Khumalo stated that Mvulane conceded that Dlamini lied during her testimony at the Ngoepe Commission.

She found Dlamini guilty of perjury

The court heard arguments in mitigation and aggravation of the sentence.

Senior State Advocate. Matthews Rampyapedi, argued that the accused was previously convicted of fraud, now it’s perjury – both offences associated with dishonesty.

Advocate Rampyapedi argued that the accused held a high office within the public service and should have been exemplary.

He pleaded with the court to impose a sentence that would send a message that lying under oath cannot be tolerated.

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