Battle against info bill intensifies

2011-05-26 14:45

Cape Town - Rights campaigners on Thursday said they would ratchet up a campaign to prevent the ANC from ramming the current version of the protection of information bill through Parliament.

The Right2Know campaign said a meeting on Tuesday where ANC MPs used their majority to approve contentious clauses of the bill by vote, showed that the ruling party was reneging on concessions made in recent months and determined to drive a draconian bill through Parliament.

"The ANC position on the secrecy bill has hardened. As a result, its MPs have reneged on a number of concessions made in recent months to reduce the bill's powers," the group said.

New period of action

"The Right2Know campaign is calling for a new period of action to stop the secrecy bill. We call on all those who are seriously concerned by this turn of events to make their collective voices heard now."

It said the ANC must abandon efforts to pass the bill in its current form and go back to the drawing board to produce a piece of legislation that is in line with the Constitution.

Opposition MPs this week told the chairperson of the ad hoc committee drafting the bill, Cecil Burgess, that the bill flouted the constitutional requirement for transparency.

This came after ruling party MPs rejected calls for the draft law to be made to apply only to security and intelligence agencies.

As it stands the bill gives any organ of state - a category that by definition includes not only government departments but also the public broadcaster, libraries and even zoos - the power to classify information.

It also prescribes a minimum prison sentence of 15 years for anybody who makes top-secret information public. The provision is widely seen an attempt to curb investigative reporting and criticism of the government.

'Dark days of secrecy'

Right2Know described the law as a "regressive piece of legislation that threatens to take our country back to the dark days of secrecy".

Opposition MPs on Wednesday held an informal meeting with their ANC colleagues in a bid to reach consensus on the bill but said no progress was made.

This came after Burgess told MPs a day earlier that he was not prepared to allow debate on the bill to continue indefinitely and ordered that clause-by-clause voting begins.

"We’ve heard all the arguments many times. We will be here for another year if we have to hear them all again. There is no way that you will get 100% consensus," he said.

The deadline for the committee to complete its work is June 24.

  • Johnny - 2011-05-26 14:56

    we all know they want to hide the sins, if you have nothing to hide then why try cover it up

      Richie - 2011-05-26 15:39

      Possibly the single most important thing to happen since the fall of apartheid! I hope every citizen black, white, purple and green, understand that if this goes through we can kiss this country good-bye!!! This will give a already very corrupt government free rains to hide all corruption!!! This will be the saddest day in SA’s history, since apartheid.... I really hope all other countries of the free world support our citizens with this... Because there is no-way we will attract foreign investment with these draconian laws. We wil become just another Nigeria where corruption is a way of life. I hope business and the media talks to our investors to STOP this madness. If they have to threaten sanctions ... that will have to be done. But, I fear we are aligning with countries like China that wont mind seeing us disintegrate while we supply cheap recourses.

      Jade - 2011-05-26 22:27

      I smell a petition in the pipeline. It may not be the best form of action, but at least people can voice their disapproval and vent their spleens en masse. The one on Avaaz already has 41,022 signers. They hit their initial target in less than 24 hours! Now onward to 50k

      Jade - 2011-05-26 22:28

      Forgot to add the link

      Looking@SA - 2011-06-07 14:23

      @Richie; You can bet china is licking its chops. If malema can nationalize the mines and do it in secret then they can just give him a few billion rand and take the stuff for themselves.

  • Nigel - 2011-05-26 15:01

    Yawn....what you hiding????, what do you want to hide???? if you're not guilty what are you ashamed of?????....Censor that!!!!!

      KPActivities - 2011-05-26 15:23

      Perfectly said

      gizzy - 2011-05-26 16:13

      The big difference between now and apartheid is the internet and social media. The anc will never be able to muzzle the truth.

      Creeky - 2011-05-26 16:15

      This is the VERY TOPIC that the ANC and other Liberation Movements FOUGHT FOR.... now they want to pull an APARTHEID REVERSE?? Freedom of Speech is in the Constitution... and it is going to be difficult to get this dreconian Bill past the Con Court!!!!

  • PMG - 2011-05-26 15:04

    And this is the same party that still retains 62% of the vote - the average ANC voter must be as thick as pigs#it.

      Pedro - 2011-05-26 15:15

      The average ANC voter lives in a shack or kraal. He knows nothing of politics. He believes what he is told and votes for the only party he knows. This is the weakness of so called democracy.

      Greybeard - 2011-05-26 15:43

      @ Pedro - generalizations of this sort do NOTHING to advance the cause of rational debate.

      Samuel - 2011-05-26 15:46

      Pedro, no wonder the ANC supporters see opposition parties as racists. It is not what you said which is offensive, but how you said it. And I am not an ANC supporter.

      Pienk Zuit - 2011-05-26 15:46

      @Pedro, I don't agree that it is democracy that fails. Rather, it is the opposition parties that fail. Democracy gives them the opportunity to go and educate these voters, to convince them why the ANC is wrong, and what they can do about it (vote for someone else). A strategy change is needed by the opposition, before the ANC and their information bill puts a stop to actual democracy.

      Samuel - 2011-05-26 15:50

      Their are more educated ANC voters than what people perceive to be. As long as people call the ANC followers uneducated masses they will never vote for any other party. Their is one way top get your point accross, and then there is offending people and making them feel less than a human.

      Carl Muller - 2011-05-26 17:30

      The vote went down..... I know of many adult community members that refused to vote.

  • DeonL - 2011-05-26 15:12

    Let them pass the bill, the Const. court should be able to stop it.

      Lab-Rat - 2011-05-26 15:40

      How many years will that take though and how much damage will be done before it get's to the constitutional court?

      courage22 - 2011-05-26 15:52

      @DeonL, how sure are you that the Constitutional court will be able to stop it...... I say we should march and make our voices heard.

      Samuel - 2011-05-26 15:56

      Keven, Im sure talking about it on Facebook will make you guilty of spilling the beans and you will get 15 years in jail... That is how serious this is and must be stopped.

      gizzy - 2011-05-26 16:17

      A high court would be able to suspend it until the constitutional court has made it's ruling. Anyhow with internet and social media they wouldbe fighting a losing battle. All the papers in this country could run their papaers from overseas and tell the story without the reporter's name. The anc could not do a thing!

  • World Traveler - 2011-05-26 15:13

    Here comes the nazis totalitarian anc government! Please all you Press people, get going on this topic. it must not pass!

  • Colin - 2011-05-26 15:25

    Move aside National Party. You have competition!

  • Ingie - 2011-05-26 15:27

    Oh well another thing the ANC wants to hide...something secret shhhhhh we wont tell if you dont

  • john lugg - 2011-05-26 15:28

    PLEASE, PLEASE, when the protest marches are organised, will you please advertise it properly, and give us enough warning in advance, so we can make arrangements to attend. I (along with most people) only got to know about the last protest march when it was nearly over! How can we give support when we dont know whats happening?

  • GT - 2011-05-26 15:29

    This is the most serious thing to happen since 1994. If no-one in the ANC has the balls to stand up to the thugs that are constructing this legislation, then they have NO right ever calling themselves a liberation movement. This is the stuff of dictators, this does not happen in constitutional democracies.

      Greybeard - 2011-05-26 15:37

      Don't rant, MOBILIZE!

      courage22 - 2011-05-26 15:55

      @Greybeard, we should march....Make our voices heard. If we shout loud enough they will have to listen.

  • Fredman - 2011-05-26 15:33

    Isn't this irrelevant? Recent events (Arab spring, Ryan Giggs, etc) have clearly demonstrated that attempts by governments (or courts) to control media are doomed to fail. Sorry, ANC, you are about 10 years too late on this one!

      Greybeard - 2011-05-26 15:40

      Dear God, I wish I was as sure as you seem to be.

  • Lofty - 2011-05-26 15:36

    I think that they want to hide the municipal audit report. They refused to release it before the elections.

      Samuel - 2011-05-26 15:59

      One of many things they wanna hide...

  • Democrat - 2011-05-26 15:37

    As Marcellus stated in Shakespeare's Hamlet,"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Could he have meant South Africa?

  • willieman - 2011-05-26 15:45

    "The ANC position on the secrecy bill has hardened". They are out of touch with reality ask MubarAk about tweeter,facebook,youtube so on and so forth,STOP THIS SECRECY BILL AND START TO CHALLENGE INCOMPETANCY IN YOUR MIDST

  • dude_like_wtf - 2011-05-26 15:51

    Remember when the pigs on Manor Farm started wearing clothes and walking on their hind trotters?

      shauncro - 2011-05-26 16:07

      "Some are more equal than others", is the way the pigs condoned it if i remember correctly.

  • matla - 2011-05-26 15:52

    Why must we protect a partisan media , which takes sides in political battles. The Information bill must be passes and any provisions that are found to be unconstitutional there is judicial review. We must put a screw on this racist until it acts responsibly and in line with the Bill of Rights

      Ang - 2011-05-26 16:13

      Are you really that stupid? Seriously, do you want your government to continue looting the coffers only without you knowing? Service delivery protest could be something that nobody knows about because reporting on them could be against the new bill, Sheryl Cwele's trial would not be public knowledge, Zuma's 700 odd charges would never be known and this is just the basics... I honestly cannot believe that you are that dimwitted that you would believe that this is a good thing?

      Lawence - 2011-05-26 16:37

      What is racist about exposing the truth, the truth about corruption, the truth about tenders? About leases that would pay for the total building in 4 months? From someone who did not own the building! You brought race into a discussion that had no race in it. Therefore you are the racist. And you are right; it will get challenged in the Con Court. But it will not pass the Constitutional test. So, why is the ANC pushing it though? It seems like they either believe that it will get Con Court Ok, or they want a few months cover to steal. And judging by the Limpopo Premier's comments, they want to emulate Mad Bob!

      PHIL93 - 2011-05-26 18:20

      What is wrong and racist about uncovering corruption,neptosism,theft,tender fraud,lack of service delivery etc.I think you are either ignorant and or racist.Wake up and smell the roses.

      Rover_ZA - 2011-06-03 14:35

      This isn't about race, EVERYONE will be affected by this bill.

  • Ralph - 2011-05-26 15:53

    As much as things change they stay the same. The Nats were good at this game. During those days I remember seeing newspapers with large columns missing because the Nats would not allow certain things to be printed. ANC got rid of The Scorpions because it got to hot for them and they had no control, now it is the media. Hmmmmm wonder whats next?

  • BigD - 2011-05-26 15:54

    ANC/NP, getting harder to tell the difference in policies lately.

  • Kevin - 2011-05-26 15:57

    This cANCer is now becoming terminal people...mobilize for your rights!!Defend yourselves/family and property from these parasites.Be apathetic towards this at your own peril.Their real agenda is slowly being enforced without opposition from the masses,they therefore condone it.THE ANC is not going to stop this racism until all opposition is powerless or destroyed.Us minorities need to mobilize before it's too late.WAKE UP People!!!!

  • shauncro - 2011-05-26 16:05

    This is most perplexing and very much reminiscent of apartheid. I am totally against it!!!!!!!!!!

  • call a spade - 2011-05-26 16:10

    I bet most of you commenting on this site are not yet members of Afriforum, the only organisation capable of organising action against the anc. So you are only talking talking talking. Come guys for only R 30.00 per month you can get your voice back. DO IT NOW and then we talk about marching.

      TamaraSays - 2011-06-01 03:07

      I kind of take offence to the notion that freedom has a price, and that Afriforum is the only organisation capable of protecting our rights, collectively. If you ask me, Afriforum, are a big part of the reason that the rest of the world is NOT paying all that much attention to what's going on in SA. They might have a point, but it's easy to dismiss a group when the first thing that comes into your mind is 'you're asking for it.' Non racist, and non groupist organisations need to start making their voices heard.

  • Kevin - 2011-05-26 16:11

    Surely even the anc voters are not happy that they have voted for a party that is openly telling them they will no longer be open with them ." If we steal the taxpayers money we will not tell you." Come on anc voters ,you need to be treated with some respect as your political party is ripping you off.Are you guys going to take it lying down.This will cost every South African.

  • gizzy - 2011-05-26 16:12

    You could tell this was coming. That ANC have been attacking the media all through the election campaign and then after they blamed the media for their ills. This bill will never pass the constinutional test and must be referred to the consitutional court.

  • Lawence - 2011-05-26 16:20

    20% of our GDP is involved in corruption. The number of senior ANC and other party officials involved is known, and the very corruption is known, because of diligent investigative journalism, that will be effectively stopped if this bill is passed and any form similar to that proposed. This is totally unacceptable. It is unconstitutional. It is asking the public to give the ANC a free hand to steal and run this country into the ground.

  • carjan - 2011-06-01 08:33

    Let the Constitutional Court deal with this new enactment. The ANC hooligans will try to get away with the act in order to steal more in secrecy

      umlaut - 2011-06-01 10:54

      Have you thought of it that with the power to manipulate the truth and to jail journalists for having secret information, it will be possible to 'adjust' the concourt to suit their needs and the concourt will in fact just be a name written on a piece of paper.

  • alicia - 2011-06-02 16:32

    Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase. Charles Caleb Colton Corruption is nature's way of restoring our faith in democracy. Peter Ustinov Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. Karl Kraus When aid reaches the masses, the country will shine Don't take bribes, corruption is a crime Mass poverty, crimes, destruction These are the consequences of corruption Raise a hand, raise a finger Do anything, but don't let corruption linger.......“Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.” - Unknown.........."Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power." - George Bernard Shaw 5. corruption quote: "Power attracts the corruptible. Absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible." - Frank Herbert "Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power." - George Bernard Shaw So sayeth Leaders of Leaders, Men of Substance, Men of Honour. Tbhey had nothing to hide. How wonderful that must be. To be able to sleep at night knowing that your life is an open book. Shame on our Government. You should never sleep. Devils should keep you awake. You have bankrupted our nation....and now want to hide it in some cockroach ridden hole.

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