The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has come out guns blazing against claims suggesting there may be political reasons behind former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini not having access to her pension.
“The Office of the Solicitor General has investigated claims widely reported in the media that former minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, is being deprived of her pension by virtue of an alleged political instruction to the State Attorney,” department spokesperson Stephen Mahlangu.
In a Sunday Times report, Dlamini claims her ministerial pension has been blocked by the State. The former African National Congress (ANC) MP had been accused of defying a Constitutional Court order, compelling her to pay the legal costs of two non-profit organisations (Freedom Under Law and Black Sash). Dlamini had been taken to court for her role in the social grants debacle in 2018. She was ordered to pay 20% of the legal costs.
It was reported that the court sheriffs have been struggling to locate Dlamini and have her finally fork out the money, however, she told Sunday Times that she simply didn’t have it and could therefore not pay.
The State Attorney confirmed that Bathabile Dlamini’s pension had indeed been blocked, but clarified that the directive to withhold the funds came from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). The office went on to say that Dlamini herself knows why her ministerial pension was blocked, but would not divulge it.
“Reasons for the withdrawal are well known by the former Minister and Sassa, thus far, no party has contested them nor has there any intention to do so. The State attorney acts upon the instruction of its client, which are the departments and state entities it represents. This matter in particular is currently being mitigated by parties which include the former minister,” Mahlangu further added.
“It should further be noted that the Solicitor-General is not at liberty to reveal the exact nature of the instructions to the State Attorney, as that would be the discretion of Sassa, as the client department”
Dlamini served as Social Development Minister from 2010 until 2018, under former president Jacob Zuma. She resigned as an MP in 2019.