2 December 2013

South Africa: Madonsela Moves to Plug Report Leaks

Cape Town — Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Monday moved to stop the leaking of provisional investigation reports to the media.

In a statement announcing new counter measures, she said the leaks were not coming from her office, but from "affected and implicated" parties who were sent copies of her provisional reports.

"We work with sensitive information for months without any leakages. It cannot be a coincidence that the so-called leaks only occur after the reports leave our offices into the hands of parties."

The statement by her office follows widespread publication over the past few days of findings from her provisional report on controversial upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence.

Madonsela said new measures would now be put in place "aimed at mitigating opportunities for report leakages".

In terms of these, affected and implicated parties would no longer get full provisional reports.

"Instead, they will be furnished with information or parts of the report that relate to them for purposes of soliciting their comments."

It was hoped this would "stem the trend of purported leakages, which puts the integrity of investigations in jeopardy, while also prejudicing the people whose names are mentioned in the reports".

Madonsela repeated her warning that -- in terms of the Public Protector Act -- publishing provisional reports was both unethical and unlawful.

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