MEC's appeal against newspaper dismissed

2012-11-21 13:10
Mlibo Qoboshiyane. (Picture: Vuyolwethu Sangotsha, City Press)

Mlibo Qoboshiyane. (Picture: Vuyolwethu Sangotsha, City Press)

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Bloemfontein - The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Eastern Cape local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane against The Herald newspaper.

The MEC appealed against an order that he make available to The Herald the Kabuso report into maladministration in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality.

The Herald applied on 24 November 2010, for access to the Kabuso Report, a section 106 report, in terms of the Municipal Systems Act.

The report, which the MEC received in February 2010, followed an investigation into possible maladministration at the Nelson Mandela Bay metro municipality.

In October 2011, the high court ordered that the report be handed to the newspaper within five days, which was done by the MEC.

Agreed to the judgment

The MEC agreed with the High Court findings about handing the report to the newspaper, but questioned the court's conclusion that section 46 of the Promotion of Access to Justice Act required disclosure of the report.

Section 46 provides a limited public interest override of the mandatory protection of information.

On Wednesday, the SCA held the MEC had complied with the court order to provide access to the report, without expressing any reservations and on an unqualified basis.

He had acquiesced to the High Court’s judgment and thereby lost the right to appeal.

Attempt to re-argue

The SCA found the appeal raised no legal issue of substance, but was merely an attempt to re-argue the case on its facts.

A full bench of the SCA held no order having a practical effect would result from the appeal, because the report had already been disclosed.

The appeal fell to be dismissed as moot, the court held.

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