Barring public from parly meetings is censorship – DA

2014-09-01 17:48

Parliamentary meetings should only be held in-camera in exceptional circumstances and this should not become the norm, says the DA.

“I have asked the chief whip of the DA to raise the issue of in-camera use for parliamentary meetings with the Speaker of the National Assembly Ms Baleka Mbete and ask that requests for portfolio committee meetings to be held in-camera be granted only in exceptional, rather than routine, circumstances in the interest of transparency,” said DA MP Marian Shinn today.

Shinn’s concerns follow the barring of the public from a meeting of the portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services last Friday. The Special Investigations Unit was briefing the committee on its current cases.

Last month, journalists were told to leave a meeting of the communications portfolio committee when it started discussing the qualifications of SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala.

“It would appear that government’s current paranoia over security and secrecy has crept into the proceedings of Parliament’s portfolio committees,” said Shinn.

“If the Speaker allows this to continue she will, in effect, be endorsing censorship, which is a threat to our democracy and as such she must act with haste and ensure that transparency and accountability are the order of the day at Parliament.”

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