South Africa


After stalling for almost three years, Bathabile Dlamini coughs up legal costs for reckless conduct as minister 

Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Lulama Zenzile)

The Constitutional Court found Dlamini personally liable for the social grant payments crisis that led to the litigation and ordered her to pay costs back in 2018. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies said that Dlamini had made every effort to avoid paying costs’.

In another victory for civil society and accountability, former Minister of Social Development, head of the ANC Women’s League and currently MP, Bathabile Dlamini, has finally coughed up R650,000 in legal costs owed due to her “reckless and grossly negligent” conduct as a Minister. 

After three years of giving the Black Sash Trust, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) and Freedom Under Law (FUL), the runaround Cals announced on 13 May that “we have been gratified to note that in the past two weeks the order has now been complied with and Ms Dlamini has paid our costs”.

In 2018 the Constitutional Court found Dlamini personally liable for the crisis in social grant payments that had led to the litigation and ordered her to pay costs.

The landmark ruling was the first to hold a sitting cabinet minister personally responsible for a failure to carry out mandated duties.

A statement issued by Cals set out how Dlamini had “made every effort to avoid paying the costs” and that the high-profile politician had not only ignored letters of demand “but even going as far as to change attorneys in the process”.

“We have been very pleased to see democracy at work in this case to hold even those occupying some of our highest offices accountable in their personal capacity,” said Ariella Scher, an attorney at Cals.

Nicole Fritz, CEO of FUL said it was essential that government leaders “entrusted with positions of care and responsibility for those most vulnerable in our society be required to face real reckoning when they so starkly fail to discharge their responsibilities.”

The victory for the Black Sash, Cals and FUL, comes in the same week that the JSC communicated to NGOs, Shadow World Investigations and Open Secrets, that the actions of Judges Willy Seriti and Hendrick Musi with regard to the Arms Procurement Commission would be investigated by the Judicial Conduct Committee.

This after a North Gauteng High Court finding that the “Seriti Report” exonerating politicians and government officials be set aside. In that instance, it was Corruption Watch and Right2Know who pursued the matter to the highest court. DM


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 26

  • Are we all sure that the money supposedly paid by dlamini was not ‘donated’? Hopefully SARS will be awake to this ….

    • Oh well, she incurred this expense in the course of mal-administration of her job, so it may be tax deductible 🙁

      Might fail the necessary part 🙂

    • 100% if she actually paid this for herself, but she needs to disclose the source of funds (or the receiver could possibly be receiving illicit monies? Is this even a thing?), and if a donation, then TAX the hell out of it. Would love to know. Same as Malema’s magical funds all the time.

  • Well done to all the civil rights organisations for the hard work. The photo is so appropriate – Is this the “inspirational leadership” we need?

  • We so need legislated time frames for cases involving alleged corruption or government malfeasance. Prosecutors will spend less, defence teams will earn less, and hopefully less tax revenue will go to telephone call consultations, scanning and photocopying instead of service delivery.

  • R650,000! Is that all for the horror story this ANCWL president heaped upon our poverty-stricken desperate for a morsel from her lavish table? Triple that and never undo the deathly harm she has wrought upon the masses of women/children who suffered untold consequences of her devastating largesse.

  • Where did she steal the money?? Payment for supporting then reneging on Magashule?? It amazes me that this incompetent, daft,liar still has a position at ANCWL and an MP. Should be in jail.

  • Dlamini has a poor record wherever she had been deployed. Clearly not coping with any responsible position. Probably lack of skills, education and application. Suggest she be moved to a situation where she could learn about the people she is supposed to serve. Cleaning streets in townships

  • As some of the comments indicate…how is it that someone with this kind of record, still holds a post in government ? Is the ANC so entirely bereft of even half competent people ? Maybe that is asking too much ! As for Rowan’s observation…it will come out all the ‘captured’ money of the people !

  • It beats me how cadres, from Zuma down, evade costs and other court payment orders. Once there is a default order why is there no move to seize assets immediately, as would be the case with any other debtor.

  • Don’t forget, this is Bathabile Dlamini, she of ““All of us have smallanyana skeletons,” infamy. Her point was that all ANC members are guilty. Of theft and abuse and rape before 1994, and corruption after then. When most ANC members know that they have done wrong, who will point the finger first?

  • Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted