17 June 2022, Anton van Zyl, Zoutnet
Because of the importance of the case, the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) became involved and asked to be allowed as amicus curiae (friends of the court). In the founding affidavit, SANEF and MMA describe themselves as “non-profit organisations dedicated to ensuring that the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and a strong, independent press are realised in South Africa”.
In its submission, SANEF and the MMA stress the importance of transparency in government institutions. “(T)he appeal before this Court deals with a particular PAIA request made to a particular Municipality. But the result of this appeal has far wider significance. As the respondents have already stated in their heads of argument: the Human Rights Commission has published a report which found that municipalities fail to comply with PAIA more than any other sphere of government. The appellant is one of the non-compliant municipalities,” the affidavit reads.
Because the case was struck from the roll, SANEF and MMA’s application to be allowed as amicus curiae was not entertained.