- A draft Public Protector report on a probe into Herman Mashaba appears to have been leaked to media.
- Mashaba believes that the leak is an attempt to distract people from the launch of a tell-all account of his tenure as mayor.
- He has called for a full investigation into the leaking of the draft report.
A draft Public Protector report containing findings against former Johannesburg mayor and founder of The People's Dialogue Herman Mashaba, has seemingly been leaked to the media.
In a statement on Saturday, Mashaba said he had been approached by five media houses for comment on the draft report for which his legal team was still preparing a response.
"A few weeks ago, I received a Section 7(9) notice from the Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and a draft investigative report which articulated draft findings against me during my time as Mayor of Johannesburg. In terms of the Public Protector Act, I must be given a chance to respond to the draft report, before it is finalised. I have not yet provided my response to the draft report," Mashaba said.
However, on Friday he was approached by representatives of the media houses, "claiming to be in possession of the draft report by the Public Protector".
"My legal team, which includes senior counsel, is currently preparing my official response to the draft report. It is clear to me that the draft report has been leaked," he said.
Not only is the leaking of the draft report is a criminal offence, he said, it is "clearly a malicious and deliberate effort to distract from the launch" of a tell-all, behind-the-scenes account of his tenure as the mayor in the City of Johannesburg, he said.
"At the outset, I wish to put it on record that I disagree with the findings of the draft report and I am of the opinion there are material errors of both law and fact. I have instructed my legal team of these errors which will be fully ventilated in my response to the Public Protector… It is equally important to state that I do not know who leaked the draft report, however, I trust that the relevant authorities will endeavour the find out who did so," he said.
The Public Protector investigation is based on complaints by the ANC and SACP in Johannesburg. It revolves around the alleged irregular appointments of the head of the City of Johannesburg's anti-corruption unit, General Shadrack Sibiya, and Johannesburg Metro Police Department chief, David Tembe, News24 previously reported.
Mashaba said that in December, the Public Protector, in a press conference, stated that the allegations against him were unsubstantiated.
"In the interim, I have written to the Public Protector requesting a full investigation into the leaking of the draft report. The Public Protector Act makes it clear that draft reports remain confidential until finalised and that the leaking or draft reports constitutes a criminal offence," he added.
"The leaking of the draft report is highly prejudicial to myself and in the event the findings remain the same after the final report is released. I will approach the High Court in order to have the final report reviewed and set aside."
Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed that an investigation into the matter is ongoing, and that, as the document has been shared with various parties for a response, it was not yet clear who was responsible for the leak.
He adds that the Public Protector, as a rule, does not comment on the contents of notices issued in terms of s7(9) of the Public Protector Act as such documents are confidential and should not be published without her permission.
“In addition, publishing such content prejudices the affected parties and has the potential to strain relations between us and such parties. Further to this, such documents do not enjoy any status because they are part of an ongoing investigation and are therefore not reflective of the Public Protector’s final findings.”