The outgoing ANC MP has seen a bad week get worse. After joining the 10-person exodus from Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, Bathabile Dlamini decided to quit in style. But her explosive resignation letter only ended up dumping her in more trouble.
What Bathabile Dlamini has been charged with
The DA decided to file criminal charges against the divisive politician on Friday morning after she brazenly admitted to concealing her knowledge of corrupt activity within the party. This is in direct contravention of Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PCCA).
Bridget Masango is the Shadow Minister of Social Development for the DA. She handed over a docket at the Cape Town Central Police Station, outlining her case against the former Women’s Minister. However, it was during her disastrous reign as Social Development Minister when this alleged corruption took place.
The colleagues she implicated
As well as accusing Jeff Radebe of secretly attempting to run the department on her behalf, Dlamini hit back at the wide-ranging criticism she received for the “mismanagement” of SASSA. The 56-year-old also said that “wives of party members” were benefiting illegally from the controversial CPS grants tender.
“Bathabile Dlamini is a person of authority, as she’s the political head of a National Department – in this instance, it’s the Department of Social Development. She had knowledge of corrupt activities related to the ANC and CPS, and is therefore complicit in these crimes.”
“Her silence on this crime is a criminal activity in itself and she must be held fully accountable for her actions. Dlamini was ultimately tasked with protecting and serving the poor and vulnerable within our society and this makes her silence on this alleged corruption despicable.”
Although Masango wouldn’t speculate if the DA were hopeful of securing jail time for Bathabile Dlamini, she did tell us that it was her party’s duty to “prevent leaders of government getting away with corrupt activities.” She also explained that the ex-minister must also be judged in a court of law.
Will Bathabile Dlamini face jail time if found guilty?
Here’s what Dlamini should be concerned by: If the corrupt transaction involves an amount of R100 000 or more, occurs in the accused’s workplace and falls within the parameters of PCCA, then that person is obligated to report their knowledge of such payments. Dlamini’s case ticks all three of these boxes.
Legal experts Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr have moved to clarify what the maximum sentence available is for those who violate Section 34 of the PCCA. They state that a hefty fine is usually handed down to a defendant, and the maximum length someone can be jailed for on these charges is 10 years.
One of the most recent incidents of a Section 34 violation came during Phillips v The State, a court case from 2016. The defendant – a police constable in Pretoria – eventually ended up being imprisoned for four years, following his role in the solicitation of a bribe.
So, should the worse happen for Bathabile Dlamini and she is convicted in a court of law, there is an existing precedent to jail someone according to these specific terms set out by the PCCA. But she probably won’t be losing any sleep just yet – it’s unlikely the 56-year-old’s case will get this far down the line.