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Bathabile Olive Dlamini MP, (born 10 September 1962, Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal) is the leader of the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL). She was previously the Minister of Women in the Presidency, and Minister of Social Development.

Bathabile Dlamini

Minister of Women in the Presidency
In office
27 February 2018 – 29 May 2019
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
Preceded bySusan Shabangu
Succeeded byMaite Nkoana-Mashabane
Minister of Social Development
In office
1 November 2010 – 27 February 2018
PresidentJacob Zuma
Cyril Ramaphosa
Preceded byEdna Molewa
Succeeded bySusan Shabangu
Personal details
Born (1962-09-10) 10 September 1962 (age 56)
Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal
NationalitySouth Africa South African
Political partyANC
Alma materUniversity of Zululand


Early yearsEdit

Dlamini was born in Nquthu on 10 September 1962 and grew up in Nkandla, Matshensikazi[1] and Imbali, Pietermaritzburg.[2] She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Studies from the University of Zululand.[3]

Dlamini was politically active from an early age. In 1983 she became one of the founding members of Imbali Youth Organisation, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front, which worked closely with the South African Students Congress and Imbali Civic Organisation. In 1985, she joined the South African National Students Congress as one of only a few women who participated in its politics. In 1989, Dlamini graduated from the University of Zululand with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Work which she passed with distinction.[1]


In 1991 she became part of interim leadership that built the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League structures in KwaZulu-Natal. She was then elected to the first Regional Executive Committee of the ANCWL. In 1992 and 1993, she served as Regional Secretary, and was elected as Deputy Secretary General of the ANCWL in 1993.[1] In 1998 she was elected Secretary General of the ANCWL, and served for two terms until 2008.[3]

On 7 August 2015, Dlamini was elected as the ANCWL's new leader, replacing then-Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.[3]

In 2017 Dlamini campaigned for former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be elected as president of the ANC.[4]


In 2001, Dlamini was appointed as a Member of Parliament


In 2006, the Directorate of Special Operations implicated Dlamini and thirteen other ANC MPs in what South African media called the "Travelgate" scandal, a scandal involving abuse of Parliamentary travel vouchers. Her charge sheet stated that she knew the travel vouchers could be used only for air travel but nevertheless used them to cover the costs of hotel accommodation, car rentals, and other benefits. She was convicted of fraud after pleading guilty to a total of R245,000 in fraudulent travel claims.[3][5]

Dlamini subsequently lost her position as a member of Parliament. However, at the 52nd National Conference of the ANC in December 2007, Dlamini was elected to the ANC's National Executive and National Working Committees.[1]

Department of Social DevelopmentEdit

Dlamini was appointed as Deputy Minister of Social Development on 11 May 2009, and became Minister of Social Development on 1 November 2010.[1]

As Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Gender Based Violence, she led the roll out of the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre, a 24-hour call centre which supported and counselled victims of gender-based violence. Dlamini also chaired the IMC on Combating Substance Abuse and the IMC for Early Childhood Development.[1]

In 2016, Dlamini was challenged by the opposition Democratic Alliance after she defended the amount of R753 per month that a social grant beneficiary receives as "enough to buy adequate food as well as additional non-food items", while she herself stayed at hotels costing R11,000 a night.[6] In late 2016 she also accepted at luxury car valued at R1.3 million, and her deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, a R1.1 million car.[7]

Grants crisisEdit

As Minister of Social Development, Dlamini failed to realise the government's plan to take over payment of South Africa's social grants by 31 March 2017, when the existing arrangement with Cash Paymaster Services to distribute payments had been due to expire. This created a concern that welfare recipients would not receive grant payments from 1 April 2017. Dlamini was criticised for her lack of action and her inability to ensure either a new service contract or the insourcing of the service. She was also criticised for her handling of the media during the controversy.[4] On 6 March 2017, the contract with Cash Paymaster Services was renewed for another 2 years.[8]

The Constitutional Court held Dlamini primarily responsible for the crisis,[9] with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng saying there was no explanation for the incompetence displayed by her and SASSA.[10] According to constitutional scholar Pierre de Vos, the Constitutional Court had concluded that SASSA and Dlamini could not be trusted to do their constitutionally mandated job to ensure delivery of social grants, and could not be trusted not to lie to the courts in the future.[11]

In September of 2018 the Constitutional Court found, unanimously, that Dlamini ought to be held accountable in her personal capacity for 20% of the costs of the case brought against her by Black Sash Trust and Freedom Under Law. Further, she was found to have misled the court – that is, she lied under oath – in order to protect herself. The National Prosecuting Authority will decide whether or not to charge her with perjury.[12]

Despite her failures, President Jacob Zuma continued to support Dlamini.[13] She in turn supported Zuma's preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in her campaign to succeed him as ANC leader and South Africa's president.[14]


The Minister was also criticised for not appearing before Parliament or in DSD portfolio committee meetings during and in the wake of the grants crisis.[15] The Parliamentary Monitoring Group's People's Assembly indicated that Dlamini was among the most prolific attendees at parliamentary committee meetings in 2016. However, her attendance waned in 2017, when she was expected to account for the grants crisis; between her and her Deputy Minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, by the first week of May, the DSD had appeared in only three of the nine meetings that had taken place in 2017.[16] In February, Dlamini failed to appear before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to account for irregular expenditure of about R1 billion by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) during the 2016/2017 financial year.[17][18]

Private SecurityEdit

In mid-May 2017, Minister Dlamini appeared before a parliamentary SCOPA meeting where, amongst other issues, she was questioned about R1 million spent on private VIP security for her children, paid for by SASSA.[19] Responding to questions about this very irregular arrangement, Dlamini responded that "some people understand government more than others”, and that she had to resort to private security due to the fact that "government processes take a long period”. She further claimed that, despite the VIP protection she received through the South African Police Service (SAPS), her home was broken into on three separate occasions.[19]In 2018, she requested for security following threats made on her family. This led to the inquiry of about 2 million rands which she then needed to pay back for the services after opposition party members request she pays for the services. [20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Minister Bathabile Dlamini Profile". Department of Social Development. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Bathabile Dlamini is heartless, say former neighbours". Independent Newspapers Online. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Magcaba, Sbonokuhle (2015-08-08). "What you should know about new ANCWL leader, Bathabile Dlamini". eNCA. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  4. ^ a b Munusamy, Ranjeni (2017-03-06). "Queen Con: Bathabile Dlamini, the face of the ANC's future". The Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  5. ^ Maclennan, Ben (16 Oct 2006). "Travelgate: 14 plead guilty". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Minister who said South Africans can survive on R753, accused of R11,000 luxury hotel room splurge". Business Tech. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  7. ^ Mokone, Thabo (10 May 2017). "Bathabile Dlamini scores new R1.3 million luxury sedan for herself". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  8. ^ Evans, Jenni (6 March 2017). "It's A Deal: The New Social Grants Contract Is A Done Deal". Huffington Post South Africa. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  9. ^ Quintal, Genevieve (2017-03-17). "Dlamini responsible for social grants crisis, says Constitutional Court". Business Day Live. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  10. ^ Chabalala, Jeanette; Raborife, Mpho (2017-03-15). "No explanation for Sassa, Dlamini's 'incompetence' - Mogoeng". News24. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  11. ^ de Vosq, Pierre (2017-03-17). "Sassa grant crisis: In this game of thrones, can Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini survive?". The Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  12. ^ Saba, Athandiwe (2018-09-27). "Bathabile Dlamini slapped with court costs, possible perjury probe". Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  13. ^ Ndenze, Babalo (2017-03-16). "Zuma stands by Bathabile Dlamini". The Herald Live. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  14. ^ Hartley, Ray (2017-03-09). "POLITICS LIVE: Why Bathabile Dlamini is untouchable". Business Day. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  15. ^ Mzekandaba, Simnikiwe (2017-03-01). "SASSA fails to get affairs in order". ITWeb Technology News. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  16. ^ Makinana, Andisiwe (2017-05-07). "Bathabile bunks Parly meetings". City Press. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  17. ^ Thamm, Marianne (28 February 2017). "Social Grants Crisis: Rogue minister on a suicide mission – Bathabile Dlamini undermines Parliament, again". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  18. ^ Staff Writer (23 July 2018). "These are the ministers who still haven't showed up to parliamentary meetings this year". Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  19. ^ a b Thamm, Marianne (17 May 2017). "Bathabile Dlamini admits Sassa paid for private security for her children". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  20. ^ | Sassa wants to recoup R2m spent on security for Bathabile Dlamini's children | News24