Bathabile Dlamini

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The Honourable
Bathabile Olive Dlamini
Minister of Social Development[1]
Assumed office
1 November 2010
Preceded by Edna Molewa
Personal details
Born (1962-09-10) 10 September 1962 (age 54)
Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal
Nationality South Africa South African
Political party ANC
Alma mater University of Zululand
Website Department of Social Development Website

Bathabile Dlamini (10 September 1962) is the South African Minister of Social Development and leader of the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL).

Early years[edit]

Dlamini was born in Nquthu and grew up in Nkandla, Matshensikazi. She graduated as a social worker from the University of Zululand.

Political career[edit]

Dlamini was politically active from an early age. In 1983 she became one of the founder members of Imbali Youth Organisation, which was one of the affiliates of the UDF where she also cut her political teeth. Imbali Youth Organisation worked very closely with the South African Students Congress and Imbali Civic Organisation. In 1985 she joined the South African National Students Congress and was one of a few women who participated in student politics and community politics. In 1989, Ms Dlamini graduated from the University of Zululand with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Work which she passed with distinction.

In 1991 she became part of the interim leadership that was formed to build the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) structures in the Kwa-Zulu Natal (former Natal Midlands region). She was then elected to the first Regional Executive Committee of the ANCWL. In 1992 up until 1993, she served as Regional Secretary.

National positions[edit]

By the end of 1993, Dlamini was elected as Deputy Secretary General of the ANCWL. She was later elected as Secretary General of the ANCWL from 1998 and served for two terms until 2008 (one of the longest serving Secretaries General of the ANCWL). She continued to work towards the formation of the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa.

At the start of the New Millennium, she was appointed as a Member of Parliament. In 2006, Dlamini was one of a number of MPs implicated in the so-called "Travelgate" scandal, and was found guilty of fraud, having pleaded guilty to a total of R245,000 in fraudulent travel expenses.[2][3][4]

Dlamini was elected to the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress as well as the National Working Committee in Polokwane in December 2007. In 2008 she worked on a full-time basis as a member of the ANC in the office of the president as sectoral work co-ordinator. On August 8, 2015, she was elected President of the ANCWL.

She was appointed as Deputy Minister of Social Development in 11 May 2009, and became Minister of Social Development on 1 November 2010.

As Minister of Social Development she has campaigned for the promotion and protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in South Africa, including children, people with disabilities and women. She introduced the Isibindi Model, an initiative that deploys trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities to provide care, protection and support to vulnerable children and families, and launched a national register for child- and youth-headed households.

On women’s issues, Dlamini has been vocal regarding reproductive justice, especially as this relates to the right of women to access termination of pregnancy services. She has repeatedly stated that the right of women to have an abortion should always be fully located and discussed as part of the rights and the transformation of society that enables the complete emancipation of women. Addressing the United Nation’s General Assembly on the commission on population and development on harnessing the demographic dividend and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health in Africa on 19 September 2014, she said: “Sexual and reproductive health and rights can, of course, never be divorced from the pursuit of gender equality and equity, and the full empowerment of women. Sexual and reproductive health and rights is at the centre of gender relations, as much as the full realisation of Sexual and reproductive health and rights cannot be achieved in the absence of gender equality and equity.”

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 that provides support and counselling to victims of gender based violence. Since its launch in March 2014 it has received a number of recognition awards both locally and abroad.[5] Dlamini also chairs the IMC on Combating Substance Abuse as well as the IMC for Early Childhood Development (ECD).

In 2016, Dlamini was challenged by the opposition Democractic 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]

Also in 2016, 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 financial year.[7]

Social Grants Controversy[edit]

As Minister of Social Development, Dlamini failed to initiate the government's plan to institutionalise the payment of South Africa's social grants by the 31st March 2017 when the existing contract with Cash Paymaster Services to deliver payments to recipients would expire. This created concern nationally that 17 million welfare recipients would not receive payments by the 1st April 2017. Dlamini was criticised for her lack of action and ability to ensure that plans were in place for either a new contract was signed with a payment distributor or that it would be effectively in-sourced by government by the time the contract ended. She was also criticised for her handling of the media during the controversy.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Bathabile Dlamini: Travelgate, 'Smallanyana Skeletons' -- And Now Social Grants". Huffington Post South Africa. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  3. ^ Maclennan, Ben (16 Oct 2006). "Travelgate: 14 plead guilty". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "What you should know about new ANCWL leader, Bathabile Dlamini". ENCA. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "Gender-Based Violence Command Centre up for international award". SASSA. November 2015. Retrieved 19 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. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ MUNUSAMY, RANJENI (6 March 2017). "Queen Con: Bathabile Dlamini, the face of the ANC's future | Daily Maverick". Retrieved 2017-03-06.