There’s no compelling reason why CR17 bank statements should be unsealed

In a judgment handed down on Tuesday, the court dismissed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s application to have the court seal on the financials statements of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign for the ANC lifted.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa at ANC celebrations outside Luthuli House on 12 May 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – The Pretoria High Court said it could not find any compelling reasons why the CR17 campaign bank statements should be made public.

In a judgment handed down on Tuesday, the court dismissed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s application to have the court seal on the financials statements of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign for the ANC lifted.

Judge Cassim Sardiwalla said the EFF failed to advance any public or private good that would be served by the public disclosure of the CR17 bank statements.

However, he found that there would be personal danger against parties to the CR17 campaign and their activities.

The EFF had argued that South Africans deserved to have access to the documents as to aid them in political decision-making while the broader debate was that this would be in the public interest.

But Judge Sardiwalla challenged the submission, asking in the judgment whether the right to making political decisions included knowing the private sources of rival political parties funding.

He further stated that the EFF relied on provisions in the private funding of Political Parties Act, which enforced transparency prior to its promulgation.

At the time of the challenge, which was before March this year when the matter was heard, there was no obligation for parties to disclose the sources of their private funding at elections or any other time.

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