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#GUPTALEAKS: Concerns raised over Privacy following EMAIL LEAKS

PRETORIA – Questions have emerged in the wake of the so-called Gupta leaks as to whether they amount to an invasion of privacy or whether the public has a right to know.
The emails have implicated Gupta family members, their associates, President Jacob Zuma’s son, state-owned company executives and various Cabinet ministers in nefarious activities and possibly corruption.
It’s understood up to 200,000 emails have been leaked and will eventually be made available to the public.
Media law expert Emma Sadlier says people do have a reasonable expectation of privacy over the content of private messages such as emails but there are exceptions.
“There are two defences, the first is consent. There’s no consent, in this case, there was nobody that said 'by all means publish these emails'. The second consent is public interest, and there’s undoubtedly none of it in those emails.”
Advocate James Grant agrees.
“Given the importance of what’s at stake here, I would be guessing that the rights of the public to know in this case is going to outweigh the rights of the individuals to the case.”
The Gupta’s attorney Gert van der Merwe has been quoted as saying they will consider approaching the courts with both civil and criminal cases.
The African National Congress (ANC) is being damaged by leaked emails alleging fraud in the awarding of state contracts, the party’s Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.
AmaBhungane, a non-profit group that has a strong track record of exposing what it says is government corruption, last week released some of more than 100,000 leaked emails and documents.
It said the emails show companies owned by the Gupta family unduly influence the awarding of government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Reuters was not able to independently verify the allegations.
Zuma has denied wrongdoing and the Gupta family and its companies have also denied all allegations of influence-peddling or improper dealings.
Mantashe’s comments come six months before the ANC, Nelson Mandela’s erstwhile liberation movement that has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994, holds a conference where members will choose a successor to Zuma.
He said the debate about removing the 75-year old leader would become “less complex” when a new ANC leader is chosen at the party conference in December.
Zuma, who has survived two no-confidence votes within the party in the last six months, can stay in power until a 2019 election.

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