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An observer
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The Secrecy Bill: A major threat to our democracy.

15 May 2012, 09:12

he very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are inherently, and historically opposed to secret societies and oaths,and to secret proceedings (remember the Broederbond?). 

We decided long ago that excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts, far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it.

Even today there is little value in opposing a closed society by imitating its restrictions. Even today there is little value in surviving our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is grave danger in an announced need for increase security which will be seized upon by those to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship. 

And none in our government should take advantage of the covering up of mistakes by censoring the news and hiding from the public that they are entitled to know.

If our government becomes so arrogant that they choose to censor what we do, think and say, then they should be censored themselves and be dispatched to the waste bin.

The promises of our rainbow nation have been undermined by the tortuous theft by our government, making the poor bear the heaviest burden. Where are those civil rights leaders who took a stand during apartheid? 

Where are they? Where are those champions of justice who once bravely said, "We defy this government. We will not allow our people to be trodden upon like dust!"

Don't the ANC know that justice is indivisible... that the theft of justice anywhere is the theft of justice everywhere.

Whenever our citizens are fully informed, you cannot stifle controversy, but this controversy should be welcomed rather than stifled. It is our right to debate issues. This was the promise of our great President Nelson Mandela. This is enshrined in our Constitution. 

The Secrecy Bill is an error, "but an error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."

The government should accept full responsibility for their errors and should be grateful that we point them out.

Without debate, without criticism, no government or country can succeed. That is why the Athenians considered it a crime to shrink from controversy. That is why the Press informs, arouses, reflects on the dangers and opportunities we face, it indicates our crises and choices, and sometimes even make us angry. 

This means greater coverage and analysis. It should lead to greater understanding of the news and better and open transmission of the news. It places a responsibility on government to provide you with the fullest possible information. It is the through the conveyors of our news that we are informed, are able to deliberate, are able to decide and able to reflect.

Our press has been overtaken by the voice of the internet. When this voice begins to be cohesive and coherent then the voices of the people will overtake the voice of corruption, when the voices of Malema will be stilled by the voice of reason, and the voice of Zuma will be overcome by the cries of the poor.

It is only only on this basis that we can progress to be what we were intended to be, free and independent. To keep our nation ignorant is to keep our nation imprisoned.

The government have made the wrong diagnosis of our problems to correct our errors. It is not more censorship that will solve our problems, but less censorship. It is not more regulation that will enrich us but less regulation.

If the public were better informed they could hold the government accountable. It is only the extent of their corruption that protects them, for surely, each day, another act of corruption arises, and the flood of corruption easily overtakes the weak and weary, but we should not be overcome by this “flood of corruption”. Instead we should hold hands and form a barrier and say, "No more."

Through this process of opennesss, government would hopefully improve rather than deteriorate. The censorship that the ANC has tried to impose of its wrongdoings will weaken it, rather than strengthen it. That is the nature of a democratic society. Sins can be forgiven, but lies are never forgotten, and the extent of the lies expands on a daily basis. How do we keep up with this flood of corruption?

By imposing restrictions and censorship, the ANC will destroy the very fabric of our nation, and together with corruption, lies, deceit, protectionism, and a determination to overcome the "sins of apartheid" to the extent that it creates a "new sin" of elitism, personal extravagance and self-indulgence at the expense of the poor, is surely a recipe for dismal failure and lack of responsibility and sensibility  for its actions. 

In1994, we as a nation agreed to stop opposing each other violently. We agreed that we would consult, negotiate and discuss issues, no matter how difficult. Where this has happened, we have become a society envied by other nations.

For instance the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was without parallel anywhere. We could mourn together the disparities, injustices and grievances of our people.

If there had been a "cover up", just imagine how our people would be feeling? There was no cover up and we decided as a nation to face the facts and grieve together. Not everyone grieved, admittedly, but at least the facts were exposed. When these facts were exposed, civil society didn't collapse. Rather most celebrated the exposure of the hard facts, difficult to swallow, but at least, we knew.

The main reason why we were able to transition from apartheid to democracy was because of the goodwill that exists in our people. We were all tired of defending the indefensible. We were also tired of the lies of the apartheid regime. We were tired of war, tired of poverty, tired of going nowhere.

When the apartheid regime faced up to their own lies, they were confronted with an undeniable fact that every South African was deserving of an opportunity to participate in an open society. We are, after all, a pretty remarkable and resilient people.

Now we have a government that wishes to lead us further down the road of despair, of loathing of one another, of failing to "own up" to its own limitations. A sad road of limitations, of further deprivation of the poor, of increased imposition of ideals that we neither subscribe to or accept.

This not only amazes me, but also disgusts me.

The ANC wants to impose the very restrictions that they themselves fought against. That is very sad, but having said that, they will come upon formidable opposition. You and me.

I believe that that it will be the unravelling of a party I once supported. It will be the unravelling of all that I hoped we, as a nation, could become. It is "the last straw". I am not one particularly in opposition, but this I will oppose with all at my disposal.

I think that the common labourer is the fabric of our society and that any attempt to control, or further manipulate them into capitulating to further controls on their liberties should be opposed and not supported. It is, after all, that which gives them hope.

For it is the common labourer who will be most affected by this outrageous demand on their liberties. Innocence is easily corrupted by non-vigilance, and non-vigilance is easily corrupted by censure.


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