Lloyd Gedye | New Frame | 21 February 2020 |
The South African History Archive’s battle with the South African Reserve Bank to access information pertaining to alleged financial crimes will go to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
What can the South African Reserve Bank’s archive of records tell South Africans about apartheid-era economic crime? The South African History Archive (Saha) intends to find out in round two of a legal battle with the Reserve Bank over access to apartheid-era records that could shine a light on alleged economic crimes committed in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The matter will be heard in early March this year at the Supreme Court of Appeal in what will be a key test of South Africa’s commitment to transparency, accountability and the right to freedom of access to information.
Saha’s appeal follows a 2018 judgment in the Johannesburg high court that went against the archive. Saha director Geraldine Frieslaar says the archive went to court in 2018 with “high hopes” as it was “expecting a favourable judgment”.
But Judge Elias Matojane not only ruled against Saha, he also slapped them with a R2.7 million cost order, which Frieslaar says has threatened the archive’s immediate future. Saha was left with no option but to appeal.
“We’re just trying to stay alive,” says Frieslaar. “This could sink Saha.”