Manase: IFP goes to court

2012-12-11 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party has approached the courts to force the government to release the controversial Manase Report to the public.

IFP member of the legislature (MPL) Lourens de Klerk has applied to the Durban high court to have it issue an order that would see the report go public.

The Democratic Alliance also threatened court action in September over the same issue.

De Klerk said councillors and opposition parties were bound to secrecy once they had viewed the document and could not disclose its contents to the public.

The report covered the period between 1996 and 2011, under former mayor Obed Mlaba’s tenure, and implicated more than 130 officials and about 11 ANC councillors of fraud and corruption.

It also allegedly implicated former municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe and Mlaba.

The Manase probe was launched in 2010 when Auditor General Terence Nombembe said in his report that R532 million had been irregularly spent by the eThekweni municipality. A summarised version was released by MEC for Traditional Affairs Nomsa Dube in February this year.

The municipality took a decision earlier this year to only allow parties represented in the council to view the documents once they had made an appointment with the city manager and signed a confidentiality clause.

“When reports are secret, there is usually something to hide,” said De Klerk.

Sizwe Mchunu, the KZN leader of the DA, said the party had always believed the Manase Report should be made public. “It speaks of serious allegations of corruption involving rate payers’ money,” he said.

Although the municipality claimed that members of council could view the document, Mchunu said he was not aware of anyone in the DA who had seen its contents.

Thabo Mofokeng of eThekwini Municipality said the report would only be released to the public once all the disciplinary processes for people implicated in the report were concluded.

“All political parties represented in council have the right to view the report by making an appointment with the city manager and sign a confidentiality clause. It is anybody’s democratic right to approach the courts and we will respond accordingly when necessary,” he said.

De Klerk said the IFP wanted to have the document disclosed to the public within 10 days of the court’s order.

If the application is unopposed, then the matter should be heard on January 14, 2013. However, if it was opposed, then it could go to court before then.

• ayanda.mdluli@witness.co.za

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