Don't include 'public interest' defence: Cwele

2010-10-22 15:36
Cape Town - State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele on Friday urged Parliament's special committee dealing with the draft protection of information bill not to include a "public interest" defence in the bill.

Serious consideration had been given to the submission to create a section on defences in the bill, he told the committee in his presentation.

However, "we remain convinced that conceding to such a demand would be tantamount to shredding this bill even before it becomes law", he said.

To allow anyone to put national security information in the public domain, with a hope that such action might, in the unlikely event, be deemed to be in the public interest, would be simply reckless.

"It would be just to increase the vulnerability of the Republic, reduce the risk of doing business for our adversaries, and put many lives, limbs, and property in undue danger. In short, I will fail in my duty if I concede.

"Never should the committee, therefore, concede to public interest defence and include such in this bill," Cwele said.

"We have critically studied the reasons why the United Kingdom, the first country to have a public interest defence clause in its Official Secrets Act of 1889, decided against keeping it in their statute books.

"We are convinced that the reasons that led them to repeal that provision remain valid for us," he said.

In the main, public interest defence made the law unworkable and provided a loophole exploited by many for self-serving purposes.

Their efforts unduly undermined national security by unintentionally encouraging the leakage of sensitive information.

With the provisions of the Protected Public Disclosure Act, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, and public interest access to information aligned in the bill, adding public interest defence would "really be over-kill".

Classification levels had already been lowered from four to three, and request for declassification and review of classified information on the basis of public interest had been provided for, Cwele said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    siyabonga cwele  |  media  |  legislation  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
Investment tips you need to know 2015-01-29 14:07

Ever wondered how to assess your future potential liability? Feroz Basa, Senior Portfolio Manager Old Mutual Investment Group, weighs in on all the investment tips you need to know. WATCH.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your mind...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.