‘Amandla’, ‘viva’ banned at secrecy bill hearings

2012-02-14 09:35

The National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) secrecy bill public hearings in Sharpeville, south of Johannesburg, has banned the popular slogans “amandla!” and “viva!”.

The Landless People’s Movement’s (LPM) Moses Tebula was shot down after he greeted participants and anti-secrecy bill activists with “amandla!” and “viva!”.

ANC NCOP chief whip Nosipho Ntwanambi, who chairs the Sharpeville leg of the hearings, ordered Tebula not to use the slogans, telling him this was not an ANC or DA gathering.

LPM is an affiliate of the Right 2 Know Campaign, which is opposed to the Protection of State Information Bill.

The Rhoda Yende Hall in Sharpeville came alive despite a delay of about half an hour when the hearing started.

Some of those who arrived late had to sit and stand outside during the proceedings.

Participants were also ordered to stop referring to the bill as the “secrecy bill” by members of the NCOP committee.

The first few speakers were in support of the bill.

A Sharpeville resident, who only gave his name as Tshepo, asked why state officials would only be sentenced to two years in prison for espionage while members of the public faced up to 25 years for communicating and distributing classified state information.

Many of the participants wore colourful ANC T-shirts, red community-based organisations T-shirts and blue DA T-shirts.

A Cosatu representative said the federation was not against the powers given to the minister to classify and de-classify information but felt this placed too much power in the hands of an individual.

Cosatu proposed that powers to classify and declassify information be transferred to another senior person in the state security department.

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