Bizos worries about Cwele's powers

2012-07-17 21:06
George Bizos (File, AFP)

George Bizos (File, AFP)

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Durban - Silence on proposed legislation to authorise State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele to classify information was "very dangerous", human rights lawyer George Bizos said on Tuesday.

Bizos said in terms of the proposed protection of state information bill there were no limits to how far Cwele's power could be delegated.

"The minister of [State] Security can delegate his authority to others. They in turn can delegate it to others and so on."

Bizos was speaking at the International Association for Media and Communication Research conference in Durban.

He said that the power could be delegated right down the line to the mayor of an impoverished village.

"There are no limits on delegated authority. We cannot allow politicians to reduce us to praise singers."

He said he believed most South Africans understood the role of the media, but that politicians did not want to accept the media’s role.

The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly late last year, is currently with the National Council of Provinces.

Bizos said he did not see the bill making it past the Constitutional Court, but added that he was surprised that the media had not reported more on the issue of unlimited delegation of powers.

"Silence is a very dangerous practice in relation to public affairs. I believe there are enough of us in South Africa who are not yes-men and women."

- SAPA

Read more on:    siyabonga cwele  |  george bizos  |  media  |  info bill
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