The African National Congress (ANC) is trying to hide its cadre deployment records by appealing the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg's order that it must hand over the material to the Democratic Alliance (DA), the party's MP Leon Schreiber said.
On Thursday, Judge Willem Wepener handed down a judgment that ordered the ANC to provide the records to Schreiber within five court days.
This relates to the complete records of the ANC's national cadre deployment committee, including meeting minutes, WhatsApp conversations, email threads, CVs and any other documents, since 1 January 2013. This includes the period President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chairperson of the cadre deployment committee in his capacity as the ANC's deputy president and when state capture was at its height.
The court case came about after the ANC refused Schreiber's request for the records in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The court found this decision invalid and unlawful and set it aside.
Shortly after the judgment was handed down, the ANC indicated that it would appeal the decision without specifying any grounds.
"The ANC may in due course consider conveying its full position on the matter should such a need arise after having obtained conclusive advice from its legal team," the party said in a statement.
On Friday, Schreiber said in a statement he is not surprised by the ANC's response.
"The ANC's rush to keep secrets from the people of South Africa at all costs only serves to confirm that there are many skeletons buried within the cadre deployment records sought by the DA. After all, if cadre deployment was as harmless as the ANC likes to claim, why are they so desperate to prevent the people of South Africa from seeing the truth about the party’s interference in appointment processes?" he said.
He further accused the ANC of hypocrisy in that it shows how Ramaphosa attempted to deceive the Zondo Commission.
Questioned by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Ramaphosa claimed that he found it "a proposition that is interesting to remove this shroud of secrecy. Maybe the party should be able to show its hand".
"The fact that the ANC is now so desperately trying to hide these records from the people, shows that Ramaphosa was never serious about transparency," Schreiber said.
The second reason Schreiber considers the move hypocritical relates to the separate application the DA brought to the High Court in Pretoria to declare the cadre deployment unlawful and unconstitutional. Arguments have been heard, and the judgment has been reserved.
Schreiber said when the ANC led evidence, it claimed that the policy was part of its exercise of "free speech" and "public debate".
"This too is exposed as an untruth by the ANC’s appeal of this case, because secrecy is anathema to free speech and public debate," said Schreiber. "We look forward to giving the ANC another hiding in court in our quest to free South Africa from corruption," said Schreiber.