IFP to seek opinion on report

2007-11-23 00:00

The IFP has decided to seek legal opinion on their right to gain access to the contentious forensic investigation report into the KZN Agriculture Department.

This came after Finance MEC Dr Zweli Mkhize issued a statement last week saying the reports will not be made available.

This incensed opposition parties, who felt that the executive of the Legislature was compromising their oversight role.

Mkhize clarified his statement at a Finance portfolio committee meeting on Wednesday, citing a request for confidentiality from the Directorate for Special Investigations (Scorpions), who want to use the report for criminal prosecutions.

The MEC said he feels caught between a rock and a hard place as he is also aware of the constitutional requirement to account to the house.

The IFP believes that MPLs in the relevant committees — the Standing Committee for Public Accounts and the Finance portfolio committee — will uphold the confidentiality of the matter and not compromise the investigation, as it was they who requested the probe. This is the basis of their legal inquiry.

Democratic Alliance leader Roger Burrows also stressed the paramountcy of the Legislature. He said MPLs have to ensure that its oversight functions are never compromised, as they were in the arms deal inquiries.

Burrows said Mkhize’s explanation relieved the minds of public representatives. “If he did not intend to say to the Legislature ‘Go to hell’, then he must not issue a statement which clearly implies that.”

Mkhize told the committee that internal audit unit reports will be available to the Legislature as requested.

These include the Strauss Daly report on Dr Busi Nyembezi, who was suspended as head of the Health Department; the final Alexander report on the taxi industry; the final Booysen report on the Housing Department; forensic investigations into Utrecht and all other authorities; and the forensic report on the rehabilitation fund. The investigation into Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is currently being conducted.

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