Mashaba pokes holes in Public Protector's leaked draft report
JOHANNESBURG - The leaked draft report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on allegations against former Johannesburg mayor and The People's Dialogue founder Herman Mashaba contains "material errors of both law and fact", and if the final report remains unchanged he will go to court to have it reviewed and set aside, Mashaba said on Saturday.
A few weeks ago he had received a section 7(9) notice from Mkhwebane and a draft investigative report which articulated draft findings against him during his time as mayor of Johannesburg, Mashaba said in a statement.
"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," he said.
On Friday, he had received queries from no fewer than five media houses, claiming to be in possession of the draft report by the public protector. This in spite of the fact that he had not yet furnished Mkhwebane with his formal response to the draft report, as required by law.
"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. 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. My legal team share my concerns. 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 to find out who did so," Mashaba said.
The leaking of the draft report was a criminal offence in terms of section 11 of the Public Protector Act, and was clearly "a malicious and deliberate effort to distract from the launch of The Accidental Mayor – a tell-all, behind the scenes account of my mayoralty in the City of Johannesburg".
Mkhwebane's investigation arose from a litany of allegations levelled by the ANC in Johannesburg. Innumerable hours had already been spent furnishing evidence that wholly refuted these claims, he said.
It was important to note that during a press conference in December 2019, Mkhwebane had stated that the allegations against Mashaba, as former Johannesburg mayor, were unsubstantiated. The section 7(9) notice had "accordingly taken me by surprise".
"I have already commenced consultation with my legal team and I am prepared to take this matter to court in the event that my response to the section 7(9) notice is not given due consideration.
"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 of draft reports constitute a criminal offence. The office of the public protector should act swiftly to remedy this breach of confidentiality and ensure the integrity of its processes going forward.
"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," Mashaba said.African News Agency