DA forces presidency to release report on future of unit

2008-04-29 00:00

Cape Town — The DA has succeeded in forcing the presidency to release the full Khampepe Commission Report on the Scorpions.

The party used the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to secure the release.

DA leader Helen Zille said yesterday that the DA received a letter from the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, on Friday saying the full contents of the report will be gazetted on May 5.

At first, the presidency refused the DA access to the report, which the DA immediately appealed.

On March 27, the deputy information officer in the Presidency, Sibongile Sigodi, said the PAIA allowed for a request to be refused if disclosure “will cause prejudice to the defence, security and international relations of the Republic”.

Sigodi said Mbeki intended to release the report at “an appropriate time without compromising the defence, security and international relations of the Republic”.

Welcoming the release of the report, Zille said she presumes any threats to national security have now subsided.

“The Khampepe Commission report will be a crucial source of information for MPs and members of the public during the legislative process to decide on the Scorpions’ future.

“From what we know of it, the report sets out the case to retain the Scorpions in the NPA. Its publication will make it even harder for the ANC to justify dissolving the unit,” she said.

Zille said the ANC has so far been unable to motivate why the disbanding of the Scorpions will be in the public interest.

“ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has conceded in a meeting with me that the ANC was motivated to disband the unit because of high-profile investigations into ANC members.”

She said the DA’s success in securing the release of the report underscores the importance of an opposition committed to keeping constitutional democracy alive in SA.

“This is a role that the DA will continue to play when the legislation to disband the Scorpions comes before Parliament. We will not let the Scorpions go without a big fight.”

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