Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba has temporarily sealed the Public Protector’s records related to her investigation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) election funding as requested by the president.
On Wednesday, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane filed the record with the High Court in Pretoria as part of the president’s application to review and set aside the report and its findings.
President Ramaphosa has, however, asked the records not to be available to the public while his legal team establishes whether some of the confidential records, such as bank statements, were obtained lawfully.
The Public Protector’s Oupa Segalwe said the legal teams of the Public Protector and the president met with Ledwaba on Thursday and confirmed the records have been sealed.
“At least until the president’s legal team has gone through that record at which point, the deputy judge president will revisit the matter and see if it is necessary to conceal them into perpetuity.”
Earlier on Thursday, media lawyer Dario Milo set out how records were usually handled in review applications.
“The general rule with Rule 53 documents is that once they are made available to the court and filed, they become public documents.”
He said that the deputy judge president did have the authority to seal the records but not indefinitely.
“It seems to me that one of the courses of action that the DJP has open to him is to seal the documents temporarily and then have the issue of whether they should be made public or only some of them made public determined in an application which would be argued by all interested parties.”
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