06 December 2018

SAHA Granted Leave to Appeal in SARB Matter

On 6 December 2018 the South African History Archive was finally granted the opportunity to appear before the South Gauteng High Court in an application for leave to appeal the judgement in the South African Reserve Bank Matter. The case arose from a PAIA request submitted by SAHA, in consultation with non-profit organisation Open Secrets, requesting various records related to suspected financial corruption that may have occurred during the apartheid era.

The requests were made in 2014 and after years of refusal by the SARB to release the requested records, on 4 August 2017 the matter was finally heard in the high court. In a disappointing and shocking judgement, the Court dismissed the application with costs on 19 March 2018. After much delay, and through the relentless intervention of Lawyers for Human Rights, SAHA was granted to opportunity to apply for leave to appeal.

Leave to appeal was granted and SAHA will be appealing directly to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The appeal is necessary, not only on the basis that there is a need to release the records that continue to haunt our economy, but it is critical that the costs order that was awarded against SAHA be overturned on appeal. The shocking costs order, if left to stand, has the potential to bankrupt SAHA as well as effectively deter other public interest organisations against using litigation as a means to enforce and protect the right of access to information. Constitutional precedence is clear that the principles in the Baywatch must be respected as they are there to protect those who go to court in an effort to advance the Constitutionalism imperative.

SAHA is optimistic that our appeal will be successful, and truth and transparency will prevail. As we enter into the new year, we are ever vigilant to ensure that the values of the Constitution are promoted.