On 6 February 2012, the Cape High Court ruled in favour of an
application by the Cape Argus newspaper in terms of the Promotion
of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for a copy of the so-called Nel
The report emanated from an internal ANC inquiry which was
convened following allegations that the former Premier of the
Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool, had indirectly used public funds to
influence two journalists to write stories favourable to him, while
rubbishing his opponents.
Judge Griesel ruled in the newspaper's favour last year,
finding that the newspaper had made a compelling case for a copy of
the report, but asked to take a "judicial peek" at the
report to satisfy himself that it did not contain additional
information the newspaper was not entitled to.
The ANC argued that the report was compiled as an internal report,
which was interim in nature and that the majority of findings were
inconclusive. The ANC also argued that there were persons
interviewed upon agreement that their identity and participation
would be kept confidential. Ultimately, the ANC submitted that
"its capacity to deal with its internal affairs must not
be compromised simply by reason that it being a ruling party, in
instances such as this, its divisions, dynamics and relations are
intertwined with matters of the state".
The court held that "what is discussed in the report
relate primarily to allegations of irregularities perpetrated by
government officials and not to internal divisions within the
ANC" and that it would be incorrect to classify the
investigation as purely a 'domestic ANC matter'.
The court concluded that the investigation dealt pertinently with
matters relating to provincial government and the exercise of
public power by government officials, and was therefore required by
the applicants for the exercise and protection of their right to
In an unusual turn of events, Judge Griesel's February
judgment, allowing the Cape Argus access to the Nel report,
controversially attached the full report, thereby making it a
The ANC have filed notice of its intention to apply for leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal or to a full bench of the
Western Cape High Court.
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