Kabuso report: the full story and supporting documents

Here is (This document was supplied in a vertical orientation. To correct the view, go to view menu/rotate view and choose counter-clockwise, or use the key combination Shift+Ctrl+minus) Here is the Kabuso report split into 4 files, , , and Here is the in the case to allow the the residents of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality to see the contents and conclusions of the Kabuso report.

The to the report. And the

Estelle Ellis

ACTING Judge Duncan Zolani Dukada ruled yesterday that the full Kabuso forensic report on maladministration in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality must be handed over to The Herald in the next five days.

Judge Dukada made the order in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, saying it was compellingly in the public interest for evidence of “substantial contraventions of the law” to be revealed.

“In my view, to withhold access to the Kabuso report any further will be against public interest,” he said in his judgment.

Last month, Advocate Glenn Goosen SC argued on behalf of The Herald and the Weekend Post that the court should compel Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane to release the report, which details alleged maladministration in Nelson Mandela Bay, in accordance with the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The court application by the newspapers followed the refusal of both an internal application and an appeal in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to have access to the report.

Judge Dukada said there was no justification for the MEC of Local Government and Traditional Affairs to refuse to release the report any longer. In his judgment, he accused the municipality of delaying the release of the report and said that this was not in accordance with a culture of transparency and “timely, accessible and accurate information” that must be fostered in a constitutional democracy.

“I fully agree that the attitude of Qoboshiyane seems to be rather paternalistic and appears to reflect a distrust of the public,” he said.

The Herald editor Heather Robertson said: “This judgment is testimony to the great value we South Africans have in an independent judiciary and free press.

“The Herald applied for access to the Kabuso report because we believed that our readers, the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay and indeed the province and the country had a right to know the results of a forensic report paid for with their hard-earned money.

“We firmly believed that this information was not the privilege of a few politicians and officials – it was of great relevance to the people whom politicians are meant to serve. “It is heartwarming that Judge Dukada shares this belief,” she said.

“We wait in anticipation for the MEC and council to hand us the Kabuso report annexures, but as of today anyone who is interested can freely download the judgment, the Kabuso report, the Kabuso report summary and legal opinion from our website"

Qoboshiyane said he would have a meeting today with his legal team to discuss the way forward. Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesman Roland Williams said Qoboshiyane and mayor Zanoxolo Wayile would also meet today to discuss the Kabuso report.

Open Democracy Advice Centre attorney Jay Kruuse said the centre was very happy about the ruling.

He said it was a significant addition to the body of case law in South Africa which revealed the government’s inability to properly justify why access to such records should be refused.

SA National Editors Forum chairman Mondli Makhanya said the judgment “is a triumph not only for the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay but for all South African citizens.

“We hope this sends a message to government departments, state agencies and municipalities around the country that it is extremely improper to withhold information that is clearly in the public interest,” he said.

“What makes this victory even sweeter is that it comes a day after Press Freedom Day, a day on which the people’s right to be informed was affirmed and celebrated by South Africans.”

X