Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has responded to the Constitutional Court’s request for an explanation as to why she didn’t file her court papers on time.
Dlamini was supposed to have filed responses to a list of questions by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng by 4pm on Monday, and instead her lawyers filed the responses electronically late in the evening.
Mogoeng then asked her to explain why the deadline had been missed.
In a confirmatory affidavit filed on Tuesday afternoon, Dlamini deposed that the reasons for the lateness were set out in an affidavit deposed by Mandla Sukazi, an attorney for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Sukazi’s affidavit, in support of an application for condonation, was delivered to the court on Tuesday morning, and was not attached to the bundle of affidavits released by the Office of the Chief Justice on Tuesday afternoon.
“I respectfully state that I have made every reasonable effort to comply with this Court’s directions,” said Dlamini in her affidavit.
In his confirmatory affidavit, Wiseman Khehla Magasela, a deputy director-general in the social development department, said that between March 8 and 12 he was the acting chief executive of Sassa while Thokozani Magwaza was on sick leave.
“I deposed to an affidavit dated March 13 in response to the chief justice’s directions dated March 8. The affidavit was delivered after the 4pm time set in the directions,” Magasela said.
In his affidavit, Magasela doesn’t set out the reasons Dlamini missed her deadline, but suggested it may have had something to do with Thamo Mzobe, “who acted as Sassa chief executive for a short period prior to my appointment”, having been “taken ill and hospitalised on our about March 7, before the relevant directions were made. I do not believe that she could do anything to assist in the preparation of the affidavits that were signed yesterday evening”.
“During the four days in which I acted as chief executive of Sassa, and yesterday, when I no longer held that office, I made every reasonable effort to comply with this court’s directions. I believe that the minister did as well,” he wrote.