R2K applauds Cosatu's stance
Johannesburg - Cosatu's vocal opposition to the protection of information bill was applauded by the Right2Know campaign on Wednesday.
"With such a powerful alliance member coming out in opposition to the draconian measures of the bill, it is time for those behind the secrecy bill to acknowledge that their proposed law goes against the will of the people," it said.
On Tuesday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which is in a political alliance with the ruling ANC, said it would launch a court challenge against the bill if it were passed without changes, to ensure transparency and to protect whistleblowers.
"The Right2Know campaign shares Cosatu’s concerns that the current draft of the bill poses a great threat to whistleblowers, and would be open to abuse from officials.
"We take courage from the comrades of Cosatu for speaking out against the secrecy bill as a regressive measure that would undermine all progressive struggles in our country," Right2Know said in a statement.
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the bill could be abused to cover-up information on corruption and the misuse of public resources.
It prescribes lengthy prison sentences to anybody who comes into possession of a classified document and passes it on to anybody but the police.
It would affect workers who became aware of irregularities, and would compel trade unions to report members who uncovered classified evidence of corruption for violating the law.
Cosatu also objected to ANC lawmakers' insistence that the bill give all organs of state the power to classify data.
Right2Know urged South Africans to speak out against the bill and said it was running a petition against it at www.r2k.org.za/sign-on.