A press release from Councillor Bill Nel describing the long-awaited forensic report said MEC Bredell would be releasing the forensic report to the public on Friday, but we have not seen it. Inexplicably, MEC Bredell told the Ratepayers’ Association that it needs to re-apply with a PAIA to obtain it, and IF he agrees to give it to us, it will be heavily redacted.  His letter is attached, and our response is below. 

…………………………………………………WESTERN CAPE GOV RESPONSE………………………………………….

 

OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT

From: Mr G Paulse

Date: 07 February 2020

Graham.Paulse@westerncape.gov.za

T: +27 21 483 4999

File reference: 3/11/2/3 (2018/613)       

Attention: Mr Neville Petersen

Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association

PLETTENBERG BAY

6600

Per email: info@plettratepayers.co.za

Dear Mr Petersen

PROVISION OF THE PROVINCIAL INVESTIGATION REPORT RELATING TO SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS AT BITOU

MUNICIPALITY  

  1. I refer to the previous correspondence in relation to the release of the provincial investigation

report, issued to the Provincial Minister by the designated investigators in terms of section 106 of

the Local Government: Municipal S\stems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000) (´the S\stems Actµ), read

with the relevant provisions of the Western Cape Monitoring and Support of Municipalities Act,

2014 (Act 4 of 2014) (´the Western Cape Actµ).

  1. My office has approached the Department of the Premier, Legal Services, for legal guidance on

your request for access to the provincial investigation report in accordance with the provisions

of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (´PAIAµ).

  1. My office was advised that all the personal information in the investigation report must be

redacted should such a request be granted. The personal information relates to identity numbers,

telephone numbers, SARS reference numbers, contact details and any other information for legal

and/or security purposes etc.

www.westerncape.gov.za

  1. I hereby request that the Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association submit a new request for

access to the provincial investigation report, in terms of the PAIA. Such application will be

prioritised and considered within 48 hours. The contact details of the Deputy Information Officer,

to whom the PAIA application must be addressed, is provided below:

Deputy Information Officer:

Mr G Paulse

E-mail: Graham.Paulse@westerncape.gov.za

I trust you find the above in order.

Yours sincerely,

Mr G Paulse

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT

………………………………………….PRPA RESPONSE………………………………………………….

9 February 2020

MEC Bredell

Western Cape Department of Local Government

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter of 7 February 2020.

We fail to understand why a new PAIA application is necessary.  We have asked for the report and continue to do so.

The fact that you have previously refused it is no bar to your providing it now.  We are an interested party that, quite irrespective of the processes of PAIA, has a democratic right in an open and transparent society to receive the report.  You have kept it under wraps, without justification, for far too long.

You are, we understand, giving the report to the councillors concerned and, for all we know, disseminating it more broadly. If these individuals are receiving it, so should we.

We have been a model of patience and understanding over the past six months, but our constituency grows restive.  The time has come to play open cards in this matter. Please let us have the report directly.

We recognize the need to protect the privacy of individuals mentioned in the report by a suitable level of redaction.  Privacy is one thing however, identity quite another. By all means redact the addresses and tax numbers if you think this is necessary, but there is no reason to redact the names and identity numbers of the people mentioned simply because, in consequence, they can be identified by members of the public who have an interest in the matter.

Kind regards,

Peter Gaylard

Chairman

cc:  Graham Paulse, WC Department of Local Government  

Bitou Report 7 Feb 2020 – Paulse[2]