News24

ANC sticks to guns on info bill

2011-05-26 22:16

Cape Town - Opposition parties pleaded in vain on Thursday that South Africans were going to rue the wide powers the protection of information bill would give intelligence services, as ruling party MPs proceeded with an apparent bid to rush the draft law through Parliament.

The Inkatha Freedom Party's Mario Oriani-Ambrosini told colleagues the country's spies had a history of abusing their powers and it would be unwise to give them further opportunity to do so.

"What we are setting in place here in a South African context, in which there is a huge security apparatus bloated by apartheid, ANC and the self-governing territories... [which] has already been deviant in the Zuma case and many other cases.

"If we give them this power we may be setting the foundation of processes which we are going to regret and we are going to identify as such when it is going to be too late," he said.

"I don't know if there is anything one can say or plead for a measure of reconsideration."

He was asking that lawmakers downgrade the regulations the state security minister must draft for other departments on when and how to classify information, to the status of guidelines.

The opposition has for months protested that the bill seeks to perpetuate the practices of the Minimum Information Security System (Miss), the post-apartheid guidelines seen as allowing the intelligence services to exercise unhealthy control over information in state departments.

Contentious issues

On the same principle, Democratic Alliance MP Dene Smuts asked that the protection of valuable information be removed from the ambit of the draft law, leaving it to deal purely with matters of intelligence and national security.

"A situation where the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) has access to and a certain amount of control over our government information is wrong," she said.

The ANC chairperson of the ad hoc committee, Cecil Burgess, said he was not prepared to entertain old arguments that had so far failed to convince the majority and proceeded to put contentious issues to the vote.

ANC MPs then used their majority vote to retain clause 7 of the bill , which allows the minister the power to regulate the classification of all information in all state departments.

The opposition won a concession however on clause 6, where the ANC agreed to balance the requirements of national security with the need for transparency in a democratic society.

"It is our view that these amendments will align clause six with the limitation provided with in clause 36 of our Constitution," ANC MP Luwellyn Landers said.

Alarming

After months of deadlock between the opposition and ANC on the bill, Burgess signalled earlier this week that the committee would move to formal deliberations and vote on areas of disagreement.

The move has alarmed rights campaigners who accuse the ruling party of trying to ram the bill through Parliament and reneging on concessions it made in the run-up to last week's municipal elections.

The Right2Know Campaign said it would mobilise poor communities in a revived campaign to prevent the bill being adopted in its current form.

"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 bill "threatens to take our country back to the dark days of secrecy" and urged the ANC to go back to the drawing board to draft a law in line with the Constitution.

The bill has been condemned as a bid to curtail investigative journalism because it imposes prison sentences of up to 25 years for anybody who reveals top secret information.

Bad news

But activists say that by shrouding government information in secrecy it would also affect the rights of poor communities waiting for service delivery.

"This bill is bad news for everybody," Idasa analyst Judith February said, adding that it was "ripe for constitutional challenge".

"If this is passed, it will have serious implications, particularly for poor communities and their right to information on issues of service delivery and corruption.

"It will effectively close off a layer of the state to scrutiny and contribute to the marginalisation of the poor."

The Congress of SA Trade Unions said it was closely studying the bill because it appeared that it still posed fundamental problems.

Comments
  • CamsComment - 2011-05-26 22:38

    There we go - Maybe we will get to change it back after the next election .....LOL

      Seth - 2011-05-26 22:51

      If the bill passes I might not be here next election.

      edvermaak - 2011-05-26 23:27

      The present ANC is all about LIES, DECEPTION, CONCEALMENT, COVER-UP.... and a lot worse. This legislation is NOT to protect us citizens, nor the country. It is there ONLY to cover up the corrpution that feeds the ANC monster.

      edvermaak - 2011-05-26 23:33

      Hey Seth, I am glad that there are others out there willing to die for their freedom.... well I hope that is what you meant? Was it. Or are you gonna run off and abandon the cause?

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-27 01:14

      @Ed - Do you know Seth's situation? Do you know if he has a family to think of first? Yes, we all should fight this because it's an important issue. Yes, we should all stand together. But you can't blame anyone for seeking shelter in another country. Pointing a finger at him will just make him want to leave sooner. Democracy, freedom of info etc etc all boils down to choice and not being judged for it, unless it directly harms someone else.

      Luckybugger - 2011-05-27 01:23

      Edvermaak if you are implying the Seth die in a revolution to overthrow the ANC you have got to be kidding or foolish, SA is rapidly becoming part of Africa and the transition that is taking place can not be stopped, the ANC will never relinquish it's power. When through all the poverty and crime in SA 62% of the electorate approve of the way the country is run, there is no hope. The bottom line is either live with it or if you have the means leave, dying for a worthless cause will not serve ones loved ones.

      Frungy - 2011-05-27 04:26

      Not if they swell the uneducated population by downgrading service delivery in the schools in order to get more votes... but we won't know about the education system, or policing, or anything because it'll all be "classified". I mean FFS the ANC already "classified" a document on water quality because the results were so awful they decided it would cause panic if it was released so it became a matter of national security. This demonstrated to me that these guys will classify anything that makes them look bad. And this isn't the first move in their attempt to conceal their stuff-ups, it's one in a long line, including trying to gag the media.

      JuluisMalema - 2011-05-27 07:00

      The ANC wants to silence the Press, and keep the truth from us. Because they are to corrupt they are serial killers all of them...

      paulf - 2011-05-27 07:17

      The Bill of Rights is a human rights charter enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa, which was enacted in 1996. The charter protects the civil, political and socio-economic rights of all people against the government of South Africa, including its executive, legislative and judicial branches (vertical application). Some provisions, such as those guaranteeing social equality, also provide rights against the actions of private persons (horizontal application).

      umlaut - 2011-05-27 07:35

      @ paulf----it all sounds beautiful but Schloppy or whatever he is called is going to be appointed head judge running the concourt---we have been conned !!

      paulf - 2011-05-27 07:49

      Section 32 provides for the right to access to information, also known as the right to know. This provision is unique among human rights instruments, but are comparable with freedom of information legislation in other countries. The right to know was enshrined in the South African Bill of Rights in reaction to the restrictive information policies by the Apartheid regime. Section 32 states that “Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state; and any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.” Section 32 not only provides for access to information held by the state, but also from a third party if it is required to excercie or protect any right. This makes this provision unique, even among freedom of information legislation, which commonly only apply to public bodies. Section 32 applies to public bodies, as well as private bodies, including companies.[1]

      paulf - 2011-05-27 07:54

      @umlaut, I agree with you. That is also how Zuma got off the hook by disbanning the Scorpions etc. The Zuma governemnt is the worst we could have ever wished for.

      KPActivities - 2011-05-27 08:18

      What does the anc supporters say to this, why do you think they want to hide stuff?

      paulf - 2011-05-27 08:51

      Please people, sign the petition on Avaaz www.avaaz.org/en/protect_south_africas_democracy A campaign in South Africa calling on the ANC Council to protect transparent and accountable democracy and freedom of the press by reversing the Protection of Information Act and the Media Appeals Tribunal proposal.

      Charlie - 2011-05-27 09:05

      Good one paulf, Avaaz is a great results driven organisation!

      Brolloks - 2011-05-27 09:23

      Hooray for Wikileaks!

      Wes - 2011-05-27 09:43

      They have to change the constitution to get that bill passed. So it seems dead in the water. Another waste of money.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-27 10:12

      @PaulF - I agree with you regarding Zuma.. Mbeki made very very VERY bad decisions but they were there to see. At that time i could see the bad and the progress within the ANC. Now Zuma is preparing to fight a colonialist revolution. One that doesn't exist and he knows that. But he knows people who fight, look towards a leader blindly. Hence all the ANC racist remarks the last few months. First it was the white south africans then the coloured south africans, now the west... Bin Laden tactics. Keep them focussed on the enemy and they won't see you stealing the food from behind them. The media was reporting on that and now the ANC desperately need to gag them. Where o where has the future of Madiba gone...

      clark - 2011-05-27 10:14

      - Has anyone else noticed the total silence from the Anc trolls on this matter ? It would seem even they cannot defend their beloved Anc on this one. Let's hear from you Politonk,Ching Li,Blackangel et al.

      KPActivities - 2011-05-27 10:19

      @Clark, My question exactly, o you know what, government does not work on Fridays.

      Currie_Mafia - 2011-05-27 11:51

      "Avaaz has driven forward the idealism of the world. " –Gordon Brown ....please people sign the Avaaz petition...

      clark - 2011-05-27 11:54

      - @Seth - If the bill passes ,there may not be another election.

      The Baas - 2011-05-27 12:09

      It is really about covering up corruption, incompetance, fraud, theft, gravy train rides etc, but the last election showed that if the former is in the public domain voters move to the opposition. Going forward voters will be kept in the dark...............suits the ruling party. I will most definately not be here for the next elexction, and neither will my skills, my assets or my taxes!

      p123 - 2011-05-27 13:20

      The ANC are learning well from ZANU-PF and the need to muzzle the press so that corrupt cadres can continue to steal our taxes with impunity!

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:01

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE POTITION http://www.r2k.org.za/

      FutureSA - 2011-05-28 16:56

      Signing the petitions are a good start. But we really need those MASS STREET PROTESTS called for by the IFP, rather than the "distantly technical" petitioning of the President to not sign it into law as seemingly being called for by the DA. The magnitude of this Bill is not being brought home to the masses whose information source is more limited to the biased state media. Opposition parties need to get their newly energised grassroots activists out to spread the message word of mouth. Street protests will: - generate uncomfortable local and international media coverage, which by rushing this through so quickly after the municipal elections the ANC is trying to avoid. - generate much more attention at grassroots level and may just begin to turn the tide in making the grassroots question what their government is really up to. (Yes I know it's a long term process and I'm not holding my breath on that one...) - generate more visibility for opposition parties as defenders of everyones rights and keep local activists enagaged and enthused in the next phase to 2014. Socialist President Lula in Brazil proposed a similar Bill (probably where the ANC got the idea from in the first place), but after strong opposition it has now been quietly dropped by the new president Rousseff.

  • Benniten - 2011-05-26 22:49

    anc copy apartheid regime's gov method. Bad news

      Grayman - 2011-05-27 06:47

      I read Animal Farm again last night ... Oh no it wasn't, it was just the news.

      Anonymous Thinker - 2011-05-27 11:59

      That's what it's been from the start Benniten...Anc copies the bad apartheid choices except in reverse. The line between who was the worse ruling party between then and now is starting to blur.

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:04

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION http://www.r2k.org.za/

  • william.botha - 2011-05-26 23:05

    Another prerequisite in place for a one party state. It is just not worth the effort to stay on in SA.

  • oosthuizen - 2011-05-26 23:08

    Say hallo so Zimbabwe#2...! But wait, these ANC fools applaud zimbabwe and libya right? All the things they fought for all these years in apartheid seems to be all in vain...

  • Frits Haas - 2011-05-26 23:11

    I smell communism, and it stinks.

      edvermaak - 2011-05-26 23:44

      The smell is slightly more tolerable since they had Vavi on board. Only problem is that the smell of crap is not that much worse than the smell of a rotten corpse. Either way, it is not good and the "deo" (VAVI's utterances) do little for that bad smell.

      Pieter - 2011-05-27 06:51

      This is all well planned by the ANC government… And it is only the beginning! I shudder to think what they really have planned for this country! Especially after this law is passed…

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:04

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION http://www.r2k.org.za/

      senkgisha - 2011-05-27 19:00

      Go read the freedom charter the anc has adopted way back then before you wer born....there you will com to undrestand what does this mean?

      carjan - 2011-06-02 08:46

      You quite correct - this is now textbook communism - but why not - whatever the citizens of RSA ALLOW THE anc TO GET AWAY WITH they will do.

  • william.botha - 2011-05-26 23:15

    Whats alarming is the motivation behind this law, all the exposure of corruption will be a thing of the past, and crime can continue at leisure whilst under full protection of the law.

  • cracknose - 2011-05-26 23:17

    This will be overturned by the Con. Court.

      edvermaak - 2011-05-26 23:28

      Pray hard my friend. I am starting to wonder if there is a single honest hair left in our legislative process.

      clark - 2011-05-27 00:18

      - We should all remind ourselves of that vivid Zapiro cartoon - remember,the one of Zuma about to rape lady justice. Now the Anc is about to gang rape our constitution. A sad, dark day for our freedoms and our fledgling democracy. The evil,sinister soul of the Anc exposed for what it is.

      Kevin - 2011-05-27 10:04

      Are you sure ,look at how our courts handle all other straight forward issues like Shabir and his mate,Motata, Fatboys company in Mpumalanga. e.t.c. Our courts are scared to do the right thing.

  • mattCT - 2011-05-26 23:24

    This goes against everything that the original ANC set out in the new constitution. The government should be open to it's people. It should be audited. It should be criticised. The media should be able to say whatever they want about it. They should have NOTHING to hide. That is how we know that the government voted in by the people is in fact serving the people. I just hope that the people ask questions, and do not just believe what they are told.

      william.botha - 2011-05-26 23:31

      Matt, it is clear that they are moving away from democratic transparency, and they are setting themselves for for a one party system. This is evident in the fact that they do not want to be held accountable, but want to rule dictator style. Throughout Africa, those in power do not believe in competition, and instead of engaging in sound politics, they believe in removing the competition. A classic textbook African move.

      Sho Fukamachi - 2011-05-27 09:27

      @william.botha : then it's about time they are removed from power, by force.

      umlaut - 2011-05-27 09:32

      The concept of democracy is too complicated for them--(lots of paperwork you know) Keep it simple--have a nice simple dictatorship and the only signed document is your death certificate.

  • gary.dasilva - 2011-05-26 23:47

    How one can not see the Irony of this I do not know - all the ANC is doing is reintroducing apartheid.

  • sainsaudi - 2011-05-26 23:54

    This bill is designed to protect the ANC elite from being exposed for what they really are. It is not in the interests of the people, and it is proof that the ANC government in no longer "by the people for the people". It's now a party that is turning to secrecy and concealment to protect itself.

      BigD - 2011-05-27 06:48

      The corrupt elite will not be exposed in SA but the documentation can still be leaked to overseas papers. Then the International community can determine if they want these people visiting their shores. I few bigwigs been denied entry will cause a rethink on the paper. International investors will stay away etc. Our rand could plummet and Zim here we come. So, it the Con court dont go against the bill then the ruling party could face an epic problem in SA.

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:05

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION http://www.r2k.org.za/

  • See-More - 2011-05-27 00:05

    The ANC are the new "Nationale Party", in all it's glory - seems to me like a bit of history repeating!

  • fbyr - 2011-05-27 00:08

    Stop wasting my tax money trying to pass laws that my tax money has to pay the ConCourt to overturn. You work for US. Get back in line!

      Charlie - 2011-05-27 09:10

      If only these cadres would realize that! Maybe its time to stop paying their wages???

      clark - 2011-05-27 10:44

      - Yep , the time to withhold our taxes is fast approaching. I'ts the only effective tool we have in the fight for our democracy, rights and freedoms.

      schmerz - 2011-05-27 12:14

      Well, easy solution would be to declare the independence of the western cape

  • The Question - 2011-05-27 00:14

    Exactly who does our government work for? The people or themselves? Such secrecy policies serve only to protect those in power and prevent any wrongdoings from being made public and allow them to pursue their own agendas over that of the people they were elected to serve.

      umlaut - 2011-05-27 10:38

      Themselves of course----for starters this law will make it possible for zuma to classify his arms deal case, and with that the Shaik case can be pardoned with no explanations given. Why do you think is the Shaik assault case taking so long? They are dragging it (Bribe?) such that it will not interfere with the pardon case. If I were corrupt I would pay millions for a pardon.

  • Trumpi - 2011-05-27 00:20

    I'm rather disturbed by how brazen the ANC has become with their tactics.

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:05

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION http://www.r2k.org.za/

  • Francis - 2011-05-27 00:32

    This is already a one party state. They already do as they bloody well like. Even when they are found guilty, not one day is served in prison. But they should be careful, because when the revolution comes, and come it will, then they had better watch out. They need to remember the minority have all had extensive military training unlike the present SANDF. Push us too far and face the consequences

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-27 01:12

    @Ed - Do you know Seth's situation? Do you know if he has a family to think of first? Yes, we all should fight this because it's an important issue. Yes, we should all stand together. But you can't blame anyone for seeking shelter in another country. Pointing a finger at him will just make him want to leave sooner. Democracy, freedom of info etc etc all boils down to choice and not being judged for it, unless it directly harms someone else.

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-27 01:13

    @Ed - Do you know Seth's situation? Do you know if he has a family to think of first? Yes, we all should fight this because it's an important issue. Yes, we should all stand together. But you can't blame anyone for seeking shelter in another country. Pointing a finger at him will just make him want to leave sooner. Democracy, freedom of info etc etc all boils down to choice and not being judged for it, unless it directly harms someone else.

  • Intuislaya - 2011-05-27 04:22

    LOLOL, While the rest of the world powers pass the 'Freedom to information' Act, good ole South Africa passes one to make it more difficult!! Hmmm maybe WikiLeaks should start taking a look at some of the goings on in South Africa. Oh wait, not enough hard drive space to store all the swindling and secrets going on in the country! Note to SA government, Democracy is NOT spelled C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-M!!!!!!

  • Lynne - 2011-05-27 06:17

    Am I the only South African hanging my head in shame at this? From a party that was for freedom of speech and from oppression to this? Disgraceful. If this is how the ANC behaves after losing a relatively small percentage of seats, what happens next elections when they will definitely lose more?

      Luckybugger - 2011-05-27 06:39

      Lynne come the next election, if the ANC need to shuffle the votes they will, alla Zim, with or without the IEC, it was the ANC that declared the Zim elections free and fair, unfortunatly SA is just like the rest of Africa, wether we like it or not.

      clark - 2011-05-27 10:27

      - - Lynne - As south Africans we're shaking our heads in disbelief - it's the Anc that should be hanging their heads in shame ! Democracy and freedoms we're never on the Anc's agenda - They will trample over everything in their lust for power and dictatorship.

      umlaut - 2011-05-27 10:53

      next elections...? lets hope there are going to be elections. The new state run newspaper will announce it has been postponed due to lack of funds--all the money was spent on "housing" (for the president's new wives) etc. and its classified information. With this new law you will have to guess the truth and that will be a true dictatorship and "luckybugger" will have to change his name if he is still in SA.

  • radarblip - 2011-05-27 06:33

    bunch of greedy self-serving pricks. the funny thing is that they wouldnt have to do all of this if they actually did their jobs, because then they could start their own businesses etc. but no, bastards are just WAY too lazy and stealing is just much easier.

  • John Wilderness - 2011-05-27 06:49

    Why complain about apartheid when you implement the same policies ? This ANC might as well get a broederbond going while they are about it. One disasterous african government copying its disasterous predecessors. No wonder africa can't come right.

      jywilmos - 2011-05-27 20:02

      They already have a zumabond

  • FarmerBrown - 2011-05-27 06:58

    Leave Now..... this is democracy at its worst. Just because more people support a cause doesn't necessarily make it right!! Democracy assumes voters are capable of deciding their best interests, clearly not the case in Africa.

  • jakes - 2011-05-27 06:58

    Hey zooma, you and your fellow "comrades" are all bunch of greedy self-serving criminals. Yes you heard me, CRIMINALS thats what is currently put in power by the majority of people that contributes the least to SA's economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JuluisMalema - 2011-05-27 07:00

    The ANC wants to silence the Press, and keep the truth from us. Because they are to corrupt they are serial killers all of them...

  • anthro45@24.com - 2011-05-27 07:18

    DA, go out there with your people and rally and protest. Do what the ANC does. It works for them. Their ministers even say that that is a way of communication. So let's communicate.

  • JohnnyWotten - 2011-05-27 07:20

    NO TAXATION WITHOUT INFORMATION!

  • umlaut - 2011-05-27 07:36

    guns then it is

  • Babba x - 2011-05-27 07:39

    Down with the ANC. Down!!!!

  • Hux - 2011-05-27 07:39

    Results of next election will be a security risk and will be clasified and not released. This has always been a dictatorship hiding behind a democratic front. When the ANC loses the majority you will all see the real ANC.

      senkgisha - 2011-05-27 19:12

      Don't say the next but but the past cz the people in Limpopo has voted more than twice,the ink was water-washable...Do Phone Thobela Fm.i am not trolling or trying to make joke!!!

  • Man can do - 2011-05-27 08:04

    Use Twitter and Wikileaks to expose these supposed secrets

  • draadsitter - 2011-05-27 08:20

    ANC = Aphatheid's New Curators Stifling a free media is textbook tyranny, which explains why it was one of the policies of the Nat government.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-05-27 08:35

    They have 2 years then the opposition can repeal it.

  • kalabafazi@24.com - 2011-05-27 08:43

    If this bill is passed, there will no more mention of the ANC in the press as there is very little good coming out of Luthuli House, so it will all be classified as top secret.

  • amabok - 2011-05-27 08:44

    power hungry mongrols seeking to silence the public and cover up the corruption, instead of serving the public, which is the role of Govern-ment. Like every African regime, and many foreign regimes, the ANC is no different. Sadly, the uneducated and unskilled majority cannot see the wood from the trees and continues to vote for enslavement.

  • Eric - 2011-05-27 08:50

    This is Ridiculous they do not have the permission of the people for such a decision therefore it remains an illegitimate attempt to make it illegal for people to point out government criminal activities. This should not be allowed to happen. This country is drifting ever farther away from democracy.

  • Naartjie - 2011-05-27 08:55

    Oh how close the ANC is moving towards the "Old Apartheid Rulers" (NP) policies. Get rid of press freedom, next thing will be separate bench in the park and reserved seats on the bus.

  • Me - 2011-05-27 09:01

    And here I thought the National Party was gone, turns out they Just renamed themselves to the ANC.

  • thobsion.ANC - 2011-05-27 09:02

    Relax!!!

      clark - 2011-05-27 12:07

      - Hmmm - I believe the Titanic's captain ,also used those words.

  • gizzy - 2011-05-27 09:13

    Thank goodness for the internet and social networks. The anc will NEVER be able to muzzle us!

      50something - 2011-05-27 10:09

      The next thing on the aganda might be freedom of speech, excluding ANC members

      sefeddt - 2011-05-27 10:15

      Tell the ANCYL that, they believe they can shut down networking sites.

      Greybeard - 2011-05-27 13:02

      just tried to sign the petition on Avaaz site, it just hangs. Maybe they can interfere......

  • Brandon96end - 2011-05-27 09:15

    ASSHOLES, the lot of them.

  • rob4e - 2011-05-27 09:20

    For all of you who voted ANC in these elections I hope you are happy with yourselves. We are almost a banana republic, this will complete the lunacy.

      Sho Fukamachi - 2011-05-27 09:28

      too bad 90% of those voters won't see your comment, as the ANC chooses to keep their voters in the dark and away from information.

  • Sho Fukamachi - 2011-05-27 09:26

    They should make it a public vote. I'm pretty sure not every ANC voter agrees with the bill, but now the party they keep voting into power is abusing it for their own benefit.

      paulf - 2011-05-27 12:09

      There should be a Referendum!!!

  • maseratifitt - 2011-05-27 09:40

    Paulf : You seem to be knowledgeable on legal matters. Can the citizens of a country take their government to the World Court for actions infringing on their rights?

      paulf - 2011-05-27 11:13

      @maseratifitt, I am sure one can approach the ICC depending on the type of case at hand.

      Eric - 2011-05-27 11:20

      I like your way of thinking

      paulf - 2011-05-27 11:21

      The International Criminal Court (French: Cour Pénale Internationale; commonly referred to as the ICC or ICCt)[1] is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.[2][3] The court's creation perhaps constitutes the most significant reform of international law since 1945. It gives authority to the two bodies of international law that deal with treatment of individuals: human rights and humanitarian law. It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, entered into force[4]—and it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date.[5] The court's official seat is in The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere.[6] As of April 2011, 114 states are members of the court, including all of South America, nearly all of Europe and roughly half the countries in Africa.[7] For Grenada, the 115th state party, the Statute will enter into force on 1 August 2011.[8] A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute[7]; one of them, Côte d'Ivoire, has accepted the Court's jurisdiction.[9] The law of treaties obliges these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty.[10] Three of these states—Israel, Sudan and the United States—have "unsigned" the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their former representatives' signature of the statute.[7][11] 44 United Nations member states have neither signed nor ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute; some of them, including China and India, are critical of the court.[12][13] The Palestinian National Authority, which neither is nor represents a United Nations member state, has formally accepted the jurisdiction of the Court.[14] It is unclear, however, if this acceptance is legally valid.[15] The court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council.[16] It is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes.[17][18] Primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is therefore left to individual states.[19] To date, the Court has opened investigations into six situations: the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; the Republic of Kenya; and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.[20] Of these six, three were referred to the Court by the states parties (Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic), two were referred by the United Nations Security Council (Darfur and Libya) and one was begun proprio motu by the Prosecutor (Kenya). Additionally, the Prosecutor has requested a Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize him to open another proprio motu investigation in the case of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. It publicly indicted 23 people, proceedings against 21 of whom are ongoing. The ICC has issued arrest warrants for 14 individuals and summonses to nine others. Five individuals are in custody and are being tried while eight individuals remain at large as fugitives (although one is reported to have died). Proceedings against two individuals have finished following the death of one and the dismissal of charges against the other. As of April 2011, three trials against four people are underway: two trials regarding the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (with one of them scheduled to be closed in August 2011) and one trial regarding the Central African Republic. Another two people have been committed to a fourth trial in the situation of Darfur, Sudan. One confirmation of charges hearing (against one person in the situation of the DR Congo) is to start in July 2011 while two others (against a total of six persons in the situation of Kenya) will begin in September 2011.

      Kakabooi - 2011-05-27 13:05

      paulf: The South African constitution does not make provision for referendums or the right for referendums. Common law makes provision for petitions, which as you well know is a far cry from a referendum. With a referendum, true democracy is enabled and the people decide. Petitions limit the population to agitation level only where government still makes the final decision. I am somewhat flabbergasted on the lack of reaction from the SAHRC. Or did I miss something?

      paulf - 2011-05-27 13:38

      Thanks for your input Kakabooi, you right. That is why I have encouraged the people on an earleir post to psign the petition on Avaaz. Unfortunately the SAHRC is in the ANC's pocket, well that is the way I see it. They are of no help at all.

  • Kevin - 2011-05-27 09:59

    What a terrible disgusting government South Africans have given themselves. 62% of the nation should hang there heads in shame. And then they will say they love there children while they destroy there future.Pampoene

  • 50something - 2011-05-27 10:05

    2014 is coming - the people will speak and have the last say

  • 50something - 2011-05-27 10:07

    That is the danger of a majority rule in a "democracy", it becomes a dictatorship.

  • maseratifitt - 2011-05-27 10:09

    Democracy : Government by the people for the people. We employ people to do governmental jobs by using our vote. The people are the employer and the government is the employee. The employer should at all times know what the employee is doing. Hence all government information belongs to the people. This should be the starting point. Should any government member decide that a certain piece of information should be classified, this member should present his/her case to an independent panel of judges (say 5) which are appointed by all parties representing all South Africans. Classification should be done according to rigid predetermined criteria, agreed upon by all parties, and should be strictly limited to such information which can have a detrimental effect on the PEOPLE of SA, should it be made available to the public. If the ANC pushes through the current bill, the ANC should be branded as a non-democratic Party. It should then contest future elections as such.

      Kakabooi - 2011-05-27 13:10

      True democracy is only possible if the citizens have the right to referendums and the right to call for referendums. If the people choose a secrecy bill, so be it. But not a governemnt. What does Kakistocracy mean? And Kleptocracy? And how does this bill protect such -cracies, if at all? The regime can be known as "SE-CRACY"

  • MeltB - 2011-05-27 10:29

    Just like that...1 2 3 and bob is our uncle...SA..The next province of Zim.

  • Common_Sense - 2011-05-27 10:35

    I'd be interested to hear what all the ANC supporters who vigorously defended their party during the local elections, think of this bill? Please share your thoughts...

      Tom - 2011-05-27 13:23

      They better do it fast, soon the only thing anybody will be able do is to kiss our honorable comrades backsides. The new era of silence will soon be upon us and completely understandable if you habitually cocked up at work day in and day out you also wouldn't like it if the entire educated world pointed it out.

  • Mike_L - 2011-05-27 10:38

    The info bill and the media tribunal are just the beginning. As far back as last year we had the ANC's Malusi Gigaba making utterances about INTERNET FILTERING at ISP level. Of course it's all dressed up as a moral crusade to "save children from porn", while the real intent is to ensure ANC control of ISPs... something akin to China's great firewall: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Gigaba-wants-porn-law-fast-tracked-20100729 We are fast heading for a totalitarian state.

      Greybeard - 2011-05-27 13:08

      I keep trying to sign the Avaaz petition but can't load the confirmation page. Has anybody else had this problem?

      paulf - 2011-05-27 15:02

      PEOPLE, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION http://www.r2k.org.za/