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DJP can seal records in Ramaphosa matter but not indefinitely, says lawyer

While President Cyril Ramaphosa awaits a decision on his request to seal certain documents related to a Public Protector report, it's being suggested that the likely course of action will be that the matter be decided in a formal court application.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. @PresidencyZA/Twitter

PRETORIA - While President Cyril Ramaphosa awaits a decision on his request to seal certain documents related to a Public Protector report, it's being suggested that the likely course of action will be that the matter be decided in a formal court application.

On Wednesday, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane filed all the evidence she relied on to compile her report in the investigation of Ramaphosa’s 2017 campaign to be elected as the president of the African National Congress (ANC).

The Rule 53 filing is part of the review proceedings initiated by Ramaphosa.

Last week, the president’s legal team asked the Pretoria deputy judge president not to allow access to the records while they investigated whether some of the evidence was obtained lawfully.

Media lawyer Dario Milo set out how records were usually handled in review applications.

"The general rule with Rule 53 documents is that once they are made available to the court and filed, they become public documents."

He said that the deputy judge president did have the authority to seal the records but not indefinitely.

"It seems to me that one that one of the courses of action that the DJP has open to him is to seal the documents temporarily and then have the issue of whether they should be made public or only some of them made public determined in an application which would be argued by all interested parties."

It was unclear when Judge Aubrey Ledwaba would make a decision.

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