Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: GCIS
Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: GCIS

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini has stuck to her script, saying she does not know why her pension has been withheld, despite the department of justice & constitutional development stating otherwise.

“They are liars. I don’t know the reasons,” Dlamini retorted when contacted by Business Day.

This follows a Sunday Times report that Dlamini was defying a Constitutional Court order to pay part of the legal costs won by two NGOs in a landmark social grants case against her in 2018 because her ministerial pension was blocked.

In a statement on Wednesday, however, the justice department said such reports were “unfortunate, without substance and are devoid of any truth”.

“The information before the solicitor-general reveals that the instruction to withhold the payment of the former minister’s pension was received from the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa),” the department said.

“Reasons for the withdrawal of the pension are well known by the former minister and Sassa, thus far no party has contested them nor has there been any intention to do so.”

The department said the solicitor-general was not at liberty to reveal the exact nature of the instructions to the state attorney as that would be at the discretion of Sassa as the client department.

“However, we can confirm that all the parties in the matter are in possession of the necessary documents which flow from this instruction and are fully aware of the current legal position. This includes the erstwhile minister of social development.”

The department stressed that “politics do not play any role” whatsoever in the work of the state attorney’s offices and “insinuations suggesting otherwise are malicious and should be outrightly rejected”.

But Dlamini has stuck to her guns, telling Business Day that parliament had told the department that “they don’t have a right to hold my pension because the Concourt judgment says nothing about withholding my pension”.

“It’s a lie that I know the reasons. They are liars. And that is abuse of state institutions. I’m not going to court to fight for my pension because by the time I get it, it will have already been finished by legal fees. That’s what they want to do, they want to squeeze you slowly,” said Dlamini, who also serves as president of the ANC Women’s League and is considered a key ally of former president Jacob Zuma.

Dlamini told the Sunday Times she was informed that the state had decided to withhold her pension after her resignation from parliament in 2019 when she did not make it into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi did not respond immediately to e-mailed questions.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za

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