The trial of former Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, will resume at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning.
She’s facing a charge of perjury, after she allegedly lied under oath during an inquiry into the South African Social Security Agency SASSA’s grants crisis in 2017.
Judge Bernard Ngoepe had chaired the inquiry.
However, the defence team for Dlamini has applied for her to be acquitted of all the charges against her.
She will know on Friday whether she is acquitted or not.
Magistrate Betty Khumalo, who is presiding over the trial, is expected to hear arguments from both the State and defense team, then make a ruling on the matter.
The start of this trial has been marred by numerous postponements due to non-availability of witnesses, which wasn’t taken kindly by both the Magistrate and the Defense team.
ANC Women’s League members picket outside court to support Bathabile Dlamini:
In November 24, according to State Advocate, Jacob Serepo, the first witness in the case, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)Regional Executive Manager in the North West, Zodwa Mvulane had failed to respond to messages on numerous occasions despite being subpoenaed and was moving between Limpopo and the North West.
Defence Advocate, Tshepiso Phahlane opposed the application for the matter to be remanded saying the reasons advanced are purely administrative.
“The prosecution is not setting out good grounds for you to consider in order to decide whether to grant a remand or not. The reasons advanced are purely administrative. Mrs Dlamini was summoned to appear before you last month. She did, she came. The matter was postponed in order for the prosecution and the defence to (avail) themselves before trial. On the last occasion, you asked if the prosecution was ready to proceed. They confirmed, we also confirmed that we were ready to proceed. And we came here ready to proceed with the trial. One would’ve expected that when the state said they were ready for trial, they had consulted, they knew which witnesses to call. But today, they ask you to give them indulgence so that they can then decide if they’re going to call the witness they have subpoenaed or not. It’s unacceptable.”
Despite the state’s previous indication that it was ready to proceed with the case, Magistrate Betty Khumalo said the one-day delay is not prejudicial to the defence.
“Much as I’m also surprised that the state has found itself in this position, but I must say that I’m comforted and consoled that this is not the only day and maybe it was an oversight on the part of the state to not alert the defence about the predicament, which I’m also not finding to be a good oversight at this point. But be that as it may, I don’t think that the request for indulgence at this stage is too unreasonable. When I listened to the state’s submission, this could have not been something that they wanted and that this was not foreseen by them that all of a sudden, their witnesses… I’m inclined to indulge the state.”
The report and transcripts have been handed in to the court as evidence.
Bathabile Dlamini back in court: 25 November 2021