Bathabile Dlamini, president of the ANC Women’s League and minister of social development, has never been particularly comfortable with the rules. Back in 2006, she was one of seven who pleaded guilty in the Travelgate scandal for claiming undue benefits of R254,000 and was sentenced to a fine or five years’ imprisonment. Now, a decade later and in charge of one of the most mission-critical government departments — with a mandate to pay welfare grants to 17m people every month — Dlamini still seems to struggle with the concept of accountability.

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