NPA gets M&G's request to publish

2011-11-23 16:18

Pretoria - The National Prosecuting Authority has received a request from the Mail & Guardian to publish information said to prove that presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj lied in an inquiry.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions [Menzi Simelane] received correspondence from the attorneys representing Mail & Guardian," NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said on Wednesday.

"The letter relates to the matter reported in the media recently involving Mr Mac Maharaj," he said.

The newspaper had planned to publish the information in last Friday's edition.

Instead, its front page featured a picture of Maharaj alongside the words: "Censored. We cannot bring you this story in full due to a threat of criminal prosecution."

Big black blocks were printed over about three quarters of the page, where the story would have been published.

Maharaj has accused the newspaper and two of its journalists - Sam Sole and Stefaans Brummer - of violating section 41(6) of the National Prosecuting Act of 1988.

He said that the act made it an offence to disclose evidence gathered in camera by a section 28 inquiry.

According to the newspaper, Maharaj had lied to the section 28 inquiry, which was called by the now disbanded Scorpions over allegations that he received kickbacks from French arms manufacturer Thales International.

It was this information, allegedly proving that Maharaj had lied, that the newspaper wanted to publish.

Mthunzi said on Wednesday that Simelane would "consider the contents of the correspondence and take an appropriate decision which will be communicated to their attorneys".

Maharaj has filed criminal charges with the police against the newspaper for violating the act and on Tuesday afternoon police confirmed that the matter had been handed to the Hawks.

  • Ryan - 2011-11-23 16:30

    whats the bet the NPA find some excuse to gag the Mail and Guardian

      Deon - 2011-11-23 16:55

      We might be surprised as Zuma need some more fall guys to save his job in the future.

      Poloyatonki - 2011-11-23 17:10

      I like the way tables have turned in SA, for the next 350 years we are on the driving seat.

      ServaasD - 2011-11-23 17:22

      Yes and for the rest of my life I will be smiling making money out of you clowns (I actually resigned in Kenya and I am back here to give you an idea).. You still need to eat.. My business is flourishing. Keep up the good work Poly, you and your ANC brainless comrades.

      Fourhundredkg - 2011-11-23 17:26

      Polo, I seriously doubt the ANC is going to last much more than about 350 DAYS. It is always the first sign of a crumbling regime when when it has to resort to repressive measures to stay in power. Isn't that what happened with apartheid, communism and other unsustainable political systems?

      Ryan - 2011-11-23 17:34

      hey Polyochop ... in case you didnt know Apartheid only lasted 40 years.

      Robert - 2011-11-23 20:11

      What is amazing - You open investigations and you gag the press in the same time. Whow this is realy a roller coaster ride. In one moment you hope and the other you are destroyed. It does not make sense.

      velastardust - 2011-11-23 22:03

      Absolutely! Menzi Simelane is an ANC mole!

      Mandla - 2011-11-26 18:23

      Ryan, it will not be an excuse to stop the M & G from publishing stolen information. It shows the paper is just as bad. It is a crime to steal such evidence. What you want us to accept is like getting a thied to go and steal from Pick n Pay to feed the poor. Its a crime, period. I really can't see the difference between M&G and the Maharaj's right now. We being fed stolen good!

  • Gerda - 2011-11-23 16:34

    Mail and Guardian should open a branch in another country where there is press freedom and still publish what they want to - even if its only available on Internet it will still attract the right readers.

      Impi - 2011-11-23 16:59

      I have also wondered how they are going to gag an International community that has access to the Net. Pity 90% of our country don't even own computers, so this bill will still help cover up the corruption locally. But this is the age of IT and corruption of this magnitude will only land this country up with sanctions once more, like in the days pre 1994 and like our neighbours. This whole bill in its entirety is rather laughable considering where we are in terms of electronic media.

      Raymond - 2011-11-23 17:15

      M&G should be hauled over the coals for irresponsible journalism

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 18:04

      @Raymond - Are you serious? On this day when your right to know who is stealing your TAX money is being taken right from under your feet, you still wish to make a poorly thought out statement like that? What will you do without Freedom Raymond, where will you go, what will you say to your children when they ask what you did to protect them?

  • joeballito - 2011-11-23 16:59

    Mac is as slippery as an eel,he will worm himself out of this one.Go Mail &Gaurdian,we right behind you.

  • Phiwe - 2011-11-23 16:59

    Under the bill, if anyone bothered to read it, M&G should be approved because information about Maharaj is not a threat to national security. I gather people are straining to discern between types of information that will not be protected under the bill i.e. this story on Maharaj, corruption, maladministration, etc. and information of national importance.

      Impi - 2011-11-23 17:19

      And Mac will say it is for national safety that any dealings in the arms deal not be disclosed because then the International community might find out whatever submarine or tank we have bought, regardless of the kickbacks given to any lucky celebrator of the Festival Of Lights. More sobering than the ill intentions of this bill, is the fact that the freedom heroes of yesterday turned out to be nothing else than a bunch of thieves that think the country's general intelligence is on a level of theirs. It would seem that our true beneficiaries of our new free country has headquarters in Durban.

      Peter - 2011-11-23 17:21

      @VOR, what stops the government declaring anything 'a matter of national security'?

      Phiwe - 2011-11-23 17:37

      @ Peter - the bill outlines precisely what type of information wont be classified under this proposal. It says, the classification of information bill should not be used under any circumstances to - i) conceal an unlawful act or omission, incompetence, inefficiency, or administrative error; (ii) restrict access to information in order to limit scrutiny and thereby avoid criticism; (iii) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or organ of state or agency; (iv) unlawfully restrain or lessen competition; or (v) prevent, delay or obstruct the release of information that does not require protection under this Act. What does this mean for investigative journalism? Well, a journalist can still expose corruption, maladministration, deceipt, etc. as that information is not protected under the bill. Whatever else is classified as secret, confidential or private is another point of discussion but at least we know the press as it was, with this need to expose ANC mistakes wont be bothered, at least it shouldnt under this bill.

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 18:09

      @VOR - For a government that is rife with corruption you sure seem to have a lot of confidence that what you have printed there will actually turn out to be upheld and not manipulated in some way. Freedom to Know is not limited; this is our country, not theirs. So if you are happy that every day the ANC is stealing your money then by all means carry on with your extremely optimistic view. I for one won’t allow my freedoms to be removed in any fashion and will do whatever it takes to ensure so.

      Phiwe - 2011-11-23 18:30

      @Beastley - I am exceedingly optimistic and not cynical. Yes.

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 20:01

      @VOR - Then you live in a dream world because none of the optimistic views you seem to hold are actually taking place. Cynicism is not a view point I take, I prefer facts and those facts suggest corruption, fraud and deception on the highest level. Nothing wrong with being positive, sometimes you have to stand and fight for what is right. Having your money stolen by corrupt and deceitful politicians is something certainly worth fighting for. It may be too late for optimism when it’s your land, your rights and your freedom that is being forcefully removed from you.

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 20:13

      @VOR - here are two quotes you may want to read "A bad free press is preferable to a technically good, subservient one.” And "Press freedom will never be under threat in South Africa for as long as the ANC is the majority party" Nelson Mandela So tell me again what it is that you are optimistic about?

  • Mathew - 2011-11-23 17:07

    put it on the web!! they cant censor that. it just leaked.

  • Raymond - 2011-11-23 17:13

    Hold on a second people. While I 'know' that most ANC MP's are corrupt and on the take, and maybe 'mac' is one of them; I have a problem with the M&G. The M&G were in possession of information which is protected from general consumption by a law. Instead of quietly going about their business to have the information made public through legal channels, they sensationalise with a two page ink splurge. It is not up to 'mac' to give permission for the information to be made available for public consumption, he does not have that power. It is this very type of irresponsible sensationalist journalism that gave rise to the ANC's hell bent drive to pass the muzzling law. And of course, all the ANC haters jump onto the band wagon blindly. Idiots! We should rather be castigating the M&G, and others of their ilk, for being irresponsible. OH, by the way.... "mac 'n zurry" ~ if you did this thing ~ Shame on you!

      Gareth - 2011-11-23 18:13

      What exactly was printed Raymond? It would appear the story was mostly "censored" due to the impending legal ramifications that would occur had it been printed in full. So far as the M&G is concerned any "reading between the lines" would have been via assumption on behalf of the reader. So you are all for being censored and being told what you can and can't read, say, do, talk about, watch, partake in and take action on? There was already a system that had those laws Raymond, it was called Apartheid!

      Raymond - 2011-11-23 20:16

      I am not for being censored. Read my post properly. What I am saying however is; 1. The news media consistantly and constantly step over the line and cry foul when they are pulled up for it. They hound individuals who they believe are a source of sensational news, not becuase they actually believe that the information is in the public good, but because they see a saleable story. They are in it for the money just as much as the corrupt ANC Mp's are. They promote hype and emotion JUST to improve the bottom line. They act irresponsibly. 2. You can never get away from the fact that some information is not for public consumption due to the sensitive nature of the information (I mean non-corruption type information) An example could be information about on-going police investigations which if leaked could endanger police personnel. I am sure, in a sane moment you can think of your own acceptable scenarios. 3. The information on 'mac' was, prior to all current fiascos, categorised as restricted information. This had nothing to do with 'mac' or any self damning evidence he may/may not have given. De-restricting the information is also not within 'macs' power. 4. The article was run, at a sensitive time wrt our 'right to know' which was used to fuel the fire of sensationalism. The way in which it was done was more to highlight the POIB issue, using mac as the tool (which he may well be). Stand back, think about it for a minute unemotionally ~ you know I am right.

      Raymond - 2011-11-23 20:20

      To continue ... I am of the very strong opnion that this information crisis we are in can be placed at the feet of sensationalist journalism as a contributing factor.

      Raymond - 2011-11-23 20:25

      and to finish .... The slogan for News24 "Breaking News First" They were in such a hurry to break the news first their first three news flashes on the voting outcome all contradict each other?

      MaxOdin.SA - 2011-11-23 22:50

      @ raymond I can see or read or follow your train of thought and you may just be right in some aspects but let's look at the article objectively. It was a demonstration of what could possibly happen if the law was passed. Let's not forget that the ANC has a policy of denialism. they do something on live national television and then say. what? no! me? I didn't do that. or I was quoted out of context. Let's get real for a second, the article was basically a wake up call! Quite obviously you are still asleep. Or you are or are related to mac maharaj. Or you're just misguided. The fact is that Mr Maharaj, over reacted to the article and now mail and guardian have nothing to lose by applying for permission to print. See other people were wearing black in order to protest while M&G's paper was wearing black on 3/4 of an article in protest. You seem to have a serious grudge against media shock value, I wonder what crawled up your butt and died? If you had an unfortunate run in with the media there are legal channels you could persue you know. Personally I think the article did well to highlight a possible future, a future in which we won't know what's going on becasue hey let's be honest we know the government is corrupt and do you really think they won't have people in their corner stopping others from printing articles? If you don't like that future channel your anger in the right direction.

  • Craig - 2011-11-23 17:22

    October 19 1977 - South Africa's Apartheid government bans several local newspapers for publishing news articles about the beating and murder of Steve Biko at the hands of the police... the ANC protested this violently. Fast Forward... November 22 2011 - South Africa's ANC government passes the Protection of Information Bill allowing the incarceration (for up to 25 years) and banning of any journalist or entity that makes public information about the corrupt nature or actions of members of government.

      velastardust - 2011-11-23 22:08

      Could not have put it better myself!

  • braamc - 2011-11-23 17:28

    ANC = lying thieving corrupt filth, stealing where and what they possibly can.

  • velastardust - 2011-11-23 22:06

    The ANC are so retarded, the don't realise that the WWW is exactly that! Ban us on parchment and we will publish in cyberspace!

  • Gabiba - 2011-11-26 10:13

    The M&G is THE most responsible paper in the country. They exposed the lies and corruption and state terror of the apartheid regime, is the ONLY media that honestly and unbiasedly reports on the atrocities committed by the Israelis against Palestinians, broke the Oilgate story etc etc. Their credentials are unimpeachable. Which is MORE than I can say for the people they investigate. Anybody who knows even a smidgen of the history of media supression, will understand how important a free press is. Their record weighs strongly in favour of the M&G. These journos would NOT publish anything they couldnt substantiate. Never mouthpieces of the state, they are the last bastian of a Fourth Estate of any substantial merit in this country.

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