South Africa

DA claims victory over ANC and Fikile Mbalula in contempt of court case

DA wins case holding ANC and Fikile Mbalula in contempt of court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is celebrating after it said the Johannesburg High Court found the ANC and its secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula guilty of contempt of court.

The party approached the court in March, arguing the ANC “unlawfully redacted, destroyed, and withheld” records of its cadre deployment committee dating back to 1 January 2013, when Cyril Ramaphosa became its chairman.

The DA claimed that the court agreed with them that this behaviour by the ANC, in violation of a court order upheld by the Constitutional Court, amounts to “wilful” and “male fide” contempt of court.

Access application

An access application to ANC deployment records was brought by DA MP Leon Schreiber in 2021 in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

The DA said the ruling confirms beyond a doubt that the ANC is a “lawless criminal syndicate” that is willing to trigger a constitutional crisis.

ALSO READ: Time’s up: DA threatens ANC top brass with jail over cadre deployment records

“While the ANC is prepared to go to any length to hide its dirty cadre deployment secrets and undermine the rule of law, there is, fortunately, no limit to the DA’s determination to uphold the rule of law and abolish cadre deployment corruption from the face of this country,” the party said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

ANC in breach of ConCourt order

The high court declared the ruling party in breach of an order that was affirmed by the Constitutional Court.

The court further ordered the ANC to pay the DA’s full costs for the application and to give effect to the original court within 15 days by:

  • Giving the DA access to all previously given information as well as any further information that must be disclosed in an unredacted form to guarantee that all names are readable;
  • Giving the DA access to all documents about the decisions and procedures made by the ANC cadre deployment committee between 1 January, 2013, and 1 January, 2021. These documents may include draft minutes, minutes, notes, attendance records, communications, and decisions made by the committee, whether they were written down or shared with ANC staff, committee members, committee chairs, and government representatives; and
  • Communications via emails, Whatsapp, and other social media platforms between committee members, committee chairs, and government representatives.
  • Giving copies of all attachments from emails, WhatsApp messages, and other social media correspondence to the DA;
  • Making the following materials accessible to an impartial, outside information technology specialist as agreed upon by the DA to retrieve data mandated by the court order: the hard drive and laptop of ANC official Thepelo Masilela; the personal email of Thapelo Masilela; and the laptop of ANC official Lungi Mtshali.
  • The ANC is required to submit a written, under-oath report detailing its compliance with the court order to the DA’s counsel as well as the court.
  • The ANC is obliged to cover the application’s expenses on an attorney-client basis, which includes paying for two attorneys.

The court noted that “in particular, [the ANC] was obliged to disclose communication relating to the committee’s work by, and involving, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was the chairperson of the committee between 2013 and 2018.”

DA calls on Ramaphosa to abide by ruling

The DA called on Ramaphosa to act in accordance with his position as president by abiding by the ruling.

“Once again, the clock is ticking on the ANC. It has 15 working days—until 24 April 2024—to hand over all complete and unredacted cadre deployment records, including those held by Ramaphosa,” the party said.

“As we have done throughout our years-long battle to expose and defeat ANC cadre deployment, the DA reserves our rights to pursue further action against the constitutional delinquents masquerading as a governing party.”

ALSO READ: DA wants Mbalula jailed for contempt of court over cadre deployment