Info bill hearings no-show

2011-11-22 12:41

Public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill scheduled for Free State and Northern Cape did not take place yesterday.

The hearing in Bloemfontein, scheduled to start at 8am at the Mangaung regional offices in Rocklands was cancelled hours after it was due to start. The hearing in Kimberley apparently went ahead as a meeting but the bill was not discussed.

Approximately 50 people slowly arrived at the venue in Rocklands by noon yesterday, for an eight hour program, but left after lunch.

The programme was to include the performance of a cultural group and a choir. Only one hour – 30 minutes for “inputs and clarity from the community members” and another 30 minutes for “response to community on clarity requested by the community” – was allocated to the bill.

“The approval of the bill” was, according to the programme, scheduled to take place at 3:30.

But at noon members of the public were told that the Members of Parliament (MP’s), who were supposed to chair the hearing, could not make it and that they apologised.

Moloto Mothapo, ANC parliamentary caucus spokesman, confirmed that they arranged for the public hearings.

He said according to his knowledge all hearings scheduled for today did take place.

“We have deployed two members of Parliament to attend the public hearing in the Free State”, said Mothapo.

He said if some of the hearings did not take place, they will be rescheduled.

Mothapo said he would only know on a later stage how many of the hearings did not take place. He said although the bill is on the National Assembly programme for tomorrow, it does not mean “this is the end of consultative process”.

Mothapo said the bill would be referred to National Council of Provinces while the consultative process could be on going. He said if need be, amendments can still be made at that level.

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