Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya and his deputy managing editor,
Jocelyn Maker, can sleep soundly until next week, at least, without the
threat of arrest. The public prosecutor has not yet made up his mind
whether the case of theft against them should go to court. Until he
does, they will not be arrested, the Mail & Guardian has been told, write Lynley Donnelly and Mandy Rossouw in the Mail & Guardian.
This comes after reports in the Sunday Times that the two were facing imminent arrest for allegedly stealing the medical records of Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang or buying the stolen records from the thief.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tlali Tlali told the M&G that Rodney de Kock, Western Cape provincial public prosecutor, would make a finding on the case next week.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe police will not go out and arrest anyone until the decision has been taken.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The Sunday Times insisted that it did not steal or pay for the records it had in its possession when the first story was published. The newspaperÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s story detailed the ministerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s behaviour while she was in hospital for a shoulder operation, stating she ordered people to bring her alcohol and continued drinking despite her liver condition. Tshabalala-Msimang had a liver transplant earlier this year.
The police and NPA were at pains this week to deny that the two were facing arrest, saying the case was still being investigated.
The M&G, however, understands that after the clinic laid charges, the police planned to arrest Makhanya and Maker on the basis that the theft was a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcontinuing crimeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. This means that any person who receives or buys stolen goods is as guilty as the person who stole them.
Although Makhanya and Maker might not have stolen the files, the fact that they acknowledged their possession was sufficient reason to investigate how they had obtained them and, specifically, whether they had paid for them.
Director JJ Brand, the chief detective in the Western Cape, joined an investigating officer on a trip to New Zealand to interview a former nurse of Medi-Clinic, who might have been involved in the theft. It is said that the person in question is a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œclose relative or daughterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â of Maker, but this could not be confirmed.
Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.