Mashaba and public protector to lay charges over leaking of draft report
The People's Dialogue founder Herman Mashaba said he would open a criminal case over the “leaking” of a draft report by the public protector into allegations against him during his tenure as mayor of Johannesburg.
Mashaba alleged the leaking of the report to six media houses was a “co-ordinated and clumsy” political effort that coincided with the launch of his tell-all book, The Accidental Mayor.
“The leak of this information is a criminal offence in terms of Section 11 of the Public Protector Act, punishable by a fine of R40,000 or 12 months imprisonment,” he said in a statement. “The draft report is exactly that, a draft report. Our legal team holds the perspective that the draft report contains serious errors in both law and fact. We are in the process of making these representations,” he said.
Should the findings remain in the final report, Mashaba said, he would go to court to have it set aside.
The investigation followed complaints by the ANC and SACP regarding the alleged irregular appointment of the head of the city's anti-corruption unit, Gen Shadrack Sibiya, and Johannesburg metro police department chief David Tembe.
Mashaba said a few weeks ago he had received a section 7(9) notice from public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and a draft investigative report “which articulated draft findings against me during my time as mayor of Johannesburg”.
In terms of the Public Protector Act, he should be given a chance to respond to the draft report before it was finalised, which he had not yet done.
“In the interim, I have written to the public protector requesting a full investigation into the leaking of the draft report. The Public Protector Act makes it clear that draft reports remain confidential until finalised, and that the leaking of draft reports constitutes a criminal offence,” said Mashaba.
Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said as a rule, the office discouraged the publishing of such content primarily because it would be in contravention of the law.
“A person who contravenes this may be guilty of an offence and, if convicted, may be liable for a fine of up to R40,000 or a jail term of not more than 12 months, or both.
“Further to this, such documents do not enjoy any status because they are part of an ongoing investigation and are therefore not reflective of the public protector’s final findings,” Segalwe said.
He said Mkhwebane will also open a criminal case over the leak.