via Zuma granted another appeal in bid to keep Zim report secret | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell November 4, 2013
The South African Presidency has been granted another opportunity to appeal an order to hand over a report on Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, with Jacob Zuma’s office fighting to keep the contents of the document secret.
High Court Judge Takalani Raulinga last week granted Zuma’s office leave to appeal, further stretching out the almost five year fight for the document to be released. Raulinga, one of the few ‘outsiders’ to have seen the hidden report, in February ordered that the document be handed over to the Mail & Guardian newspaper.
The case has been back and forth to the High Court and Constitutional Court since 2009 when the newspaper first tried to have the report made public. This was amid widespread speculation that the report contained evidence showing that the 2002 disputed election in Zimbabwe was not free or fair.
Raulinga was granted a ‘judicial peek’ at the contents last year and in February ruled that there was enough information to cast doubts on the legality of Zimbabwe’s 2002 poll. He ordered the President to hand the document over within ten days, but Zuma’s office later stated its intentions to appeal the matter.
Raulinga last week ordered that the appeal be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal, rather than by the High Court, arguing that since the higher courts had not seen the report, “it was therefore critical that leave to appeal be granted so that another court may have sight of the report”.
He also reiterated his previously findings that stated “the report potentially discloses evidence of a substantial contravention of, or failure to comply with, the law and therefore the public interest supersedes the harm that may occur should the report be released”.
The Mail & Guardian’s lawyer, Dario Milo, has said the appeal “should have been refused as the state has no reasonable prospects of success”. He said it seemed likely that the matter would eventually end up in the Constitutional Court again, “by which time it will have been through five courts”.