Political analysts have weighed in on the Constitutional Court’s scathing judgment against Bathabile Dlamini, describing its decision to ask the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to determine whether she should be prosecuted for perjury relating to the social grants crisis as groundbreaking.
The court has found that the former Social Development Minister acted recklessly and was grossly negligent when she lied under oath at the Ngoepe Inquiry into the social grants payment fiasco.
Dlamini was also ordered to personally pay 20% of the legal costs incurred by the Black Sash and Freedom Under Law.
Political analyst Prince Mashele says this ruling will inject a new element of responsibility into the consciousness of politicians and will give the country the courage to hold irresponsible officials criminally liable.
“It makes current and possibly future politicians to think very hard, knowing that there’s a possibility that their political action can be punished legally,” says Mashele.
David Munyae, a political analyst based at the University of Johannesburg, says this damning ruling has huge implications for the African National Congress ahead of the elections in 2019.
“[And] the question that you don’t just pick anyone on the street and put in office.”
The NPA says it’s now waiting for the Constitutional Court to send on Judge Ngoepe’s ruling before it considers whether Dlamini should be charged with perjury.