SA ordered to hand over secret Zim election report

South African President Thabo Mbeki had commissioned two judges to visit Zimbabwe and report back on the state of the 2002 election

By Alex Bell
14 February 2013

The South African Presidency has been ordered to hand over a report it commissioned on the Zimbabwe elections in 2002, after keeping it hidden for more than ten years.

This order was handed down by the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday morning, four years after the application to have the report made public was filed by a leading South African newspaper.

The Mail & Guardian has been trying to have the report released since 2008, amid widespread speculation that it contained evidence showing that the 2002 disputed election in Zimbabwe was not free or fair. High Court Judge Joseph Raulinga’s ruling on Wednesday has now confirmed that the report contained enough information to cast doubts on the legality of the poll.

The then South African President Thabo Mbeki had commissioned two judges to visit Zimbabwe and report back on the state of that election. This report was handed over to Mbeki but never made public, although the former President insisted the electoral process in Zimbabwe was completely democratic.

The newspaper’s efforts to access the details of the report were repeatedly denied, leaving it little choice but to seek the intervention of the High Court in 2008. The government, now under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, was then ordered more than a year ago to release the report.

But a lengthy appeals process was launched by President Zuma and the case eventually ended up in the Constitutional Court. That court in late 2011 referred the case back to its starting point in the High Court, saying that court needed to invoke its rights to see the report and then make a decision on whether it could be released.

Judge Raulinga had his ‘judicial peek’ into the document last year and his judgement on Wednesday is based on this. He said in his ruling that: “Without disclosing the contents of the report I can reveal that the report potentially discloses evidence of substantial contravention of, or failure to comply with the law.”

He added: “I am of the view that the public interest supersedes the harm that may ensue should the report be released.”

The Presidency now has 10 days to release the report or appeal, which Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes said could still happen. He told SW Radio Africa that they are “delighted” with the ruling because it makes it clear that the public interest in the case is “real and very urgent.”

“It is a huge step in what has been a four year long battle. With a fresh election looming in Zimbabwe this information is more relevant and more important than ever and we hope the government will not delay any longer,” Dawes said.

He added: “Clearly they have delayed because what the report is going to show is that there were serious problems with the 2002 election. And that reflects badly on the SA government at the time and also reflects badly on ZANU PF. And it could create awkwardness between two governments.”

“But we believe people need to know what happened and this court ruling confirms that we have a right to let people know,” he said.

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14 Responsesto “SA ordered to hand over secret Zim election report”

  1. mike hondo says:

    the way the south african government has constantly appealed and appealed to stall this report being released is so very shamefull and shows how complicit they have been in keeping the illegal sellout government of zanu pf and RGM in power against the will of the people for over 10 years ,what dirty secrets are they hiding in this report i cant wait to see ,also how much money has the SA government wasted on this little jolly for these two judges trip and the subsequent cover up and endless court appeals what a waste of taxpayers money indeed, thank you M&g for seeking the truth on behalf of all rite minded zimbabweans

  2. super mondo says:

    the truth shall out.

  3. david taylor says:

    I am not celebrating before the document is actually released. But should it be, and just before the referendum and elections, it could be momentous.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Ha, ha, ha, what a loser of a farm in Zimbabwe can dream about. It is outrageous and foolish contemplating the impossible.

  4. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    Almost five years after the last election the MDC-T now wants this report. Oh boy, it is ridiculous. Will the report promote their chances of winning the impending elections? If not why bother?

    • Chimbwidos Warvets, was the court challenge put to the SA courts by the MdcT? I went to school a very long ago and have been following this and my daft mind, to date, is of the opinion that the applicant in this matter is not the MdcT but a SA newspaper. How do you substitute SA newspaper with MdcT?

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        It is because the SA newspaper, a news outlet still being owned and controlled by the boers to thus day is no different from the MDC-T. Their language and views expounded by the two entities are one and the same.

        • Tiger Shona says:

          Warvets, you guys have killed, raped, stole, extorted aplenty.

          I think that paper is owned by a Zimbabwean Patriot, Trevor Ncube.

          Of course you would not want for all these dark secrets to be spilled, but it is gyona happen.

          Better get your running shoes on, because the hunters are in the process of becoming the hunted!

          • Comrade Chinx says:

            What a rhodie dreaming of those days of glory when you did as you pleased in my country. Today you are all crying like babies.

          • Tiger Shona says:

            I am not the one crying. It is you. And this country does not belong to you, but to all of us.

            All you are doing is trying to keep things the way they are, so that you do not have to account for all the stuff you got, that you never acquired in a legal manner.

            Wait until the Zimra guys stop their by you house big man!

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            Are you a former rhodie? If so the war veterans of Zimbabwe are hunting down all rhodies for crime committed against humanity. They killed my people.

      • super mondo says:

        its the zanu tablets

    • Common Sense says:

      The MDC didn’t ask for it…. the SA Public in effect asked for it…

      And yes it has every chance of changing the whole face of democracy in Zimbabwe, because ZANU-PF voters will see for themselves that their leaders are illegitimate and stole the that election, and will give credence to the fact that the same thing happened in 2008…

      As a result the MDC formation will be bolstered as the reality will be out, Zimbabwe’s majority do not want ZANU-PF, nor RGM in power again… it is only a minority that want to cling to power as through it is their African right to persist with a one party state called ZANU_PF

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        The SA public asked for the report to do what with it? And why now almost five years after elections had been conducted, not in South Africa but in Zimbabwe? That is ridiculous mate.

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