The release of a classified report on the “rogue unit” at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) into the public domain endangers agents, operations, and reveals to the world how South Africa conducts its investigations.
That is as per State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo’s sworn statement to the High Court in Pretoria when she applied to avert Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from getting her hands on it.
The 2014 office of the inspector-general of intelligence (IGI) report as of late additionally turned out to be part of the record at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture – and on Monday turned out to be part of the EFF’s papers in its reaction to the hate speech charges laid against its pioneer, Julius Malema, and his deputy Floyd Shivambu by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
As for what’s next, the SSA is not saying – but it is still classified.
“Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the operational details regarding members,” Dlodlo’s spokesperson, Mava Scott, told the media.
“With regard to the publication of classified information, the law is crystal clear that any person who possesses or publishes classified information is in breach of the law.
“Protection of the Information Act, 84 of 1982, as amended in 2013 by the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Act, 11 of 2013, is instructive here.”
The report presently structures some part of the Malema v Gordhan hate speech trial, while Dlodlo’s activity with the public protector is as yet continuous, Scott said.
“In the papers, Gordhan’s representatives asked for the IGI report to be expunged from the EFF’s papers on the basis that it is not relevant to the matter,” Scott said. “The judge refused. This does not mean that the judge declassified the report.”
In a statement following the plastering of the judgment on the internet, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they welcomed “the opportunity given by this judgment for the IGI rogue unit report to be deliberated in the open public court”.
Malema has accused Gordhan of being corrupt, a dog of white monopoly capital, and of hating black people.
Ndlozi believed the report found “Pravin Gordhan ran an illegal intelligence unit within Sars”.
“They determined that he must be criminally prosecuted,” Ndlozi said.
In his counter-application to Dlodo, Malema noted the Constitutional Court had made it clear the state had a “heavy burden” when it tried to prevent the disclosure of information on the basis of secrecy.
“Endangering whose lives? Exposing which agents? Revealing what intelligence? The minister does not say,” Malema said in his affidavit in the matter.
In response to whether they will be taking action against the EFF for disseminating the report, Scott said: “We will decide what to do once our matter with the public protector has been finalised.”
No reasons were given by the Equality Court managing official for permitting the mystery record into the public domain.