Nala Report – Department Must Explain Secrecy

Peter Frewen MPL

DA Free State Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Housing

The secrecy relating to the KPMG report regarding irregularities in Nala Municipality have taken a new twist.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) takes note of the decision yesterday by the Committee on Public Accounts, Finance, Office of the Premier and Legislature to force the Department of Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Housing (COGTAH) to explain why the KPMG report have not been tabled in the Free State Legislature.

In the reply to the committee on the tabling of the report, dated 10 February 2012, the department stated that β€œ the report contains information and advice/recommendations on which criminal and/or civil proceedings could follow against the relevant persons identified in the report. This report should be regarded as a privileged and confidential document and not be disclosed to other members of the Legislature or the public at this stage.”

The committee resolved yesterday, that the department will be requested to supply details relating privileged information in the report within the next three weeks.

In fact, the Office of the Legal advisor in the Free State Legislature found that, β€œin order to avoid the risk of having a privileged document referred to the Committee, the Committee should invoke rule 210 (1)(c) of the Standing Rules and Orders and without obtaining the report itself, call upon the Department that commissioned the investigation so that the Committee may investigate , inquire into and make recommendations to the House regarding the question of privilege.”

The DA welcomes the decision by the committee to invoke the aforementioned rule.

It may be difficult, if not impossible for the committee to ask questions to determine whether a issue is privileged or not without having the benefit of studied the content of the report.

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