The Constitutional Court is expected to decide on Thursday whether former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini should be held personally liable for her handling of last year’s SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle.
The court is expected to rule on costs in terms of section 38 of the Superior Courts Act and determine Dlamini’s role and responsibility in the establishment and functioning of the work streams referred to in affidavits filed by all the parties.
The case, which was brought by non-governmental organisations Black Sash and Freedom Under Law, has been ongoing for several years.
In 2014, the court ruled that the contract the Sassa had signed with social grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) two years prior was illegal and invalid.
Sassa later returned to court because it was concerned that it would not be able to distribute cash payments to recipients because its new distributor, the SA Post Office was not able to do so.
Around 2.8 million beneficiaries – roughly 26% of the scheme – receive their grants in cash.
Earlier this year, the court gave CPS another six months to pay beneficiaries who received their grants in cash.
It also ordered Dlamini and Sassa’s acting CEO Pearl Bhengu to explain why they should not be held liable for the legal costs, in their personal capacities.
Last month the Constitutional Court ruled that Sassa and Bhengu were liable for costs relating to the extension of the application.
Bhengu was found liable in her official capacity as former Sassa acting CEO, but not in her personal capacity.
The court found that Dlamini’s actions were “not sufficient to conclude that it constitutes bad faith or gross negligence”.