DA: Citizens must fight info bill

2012-03-17 14:28
Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance urged South Africans on Saturday to defend the freedoms won in 1994 and fight against the Protection of State Information Bill at all costs.

In his speech prepared for delivery at the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha, DA member of parliament Wilmot James said the so-called secrecy bill was eroding the country's gains and keeping the public in the dark about corruption.

"After our liberation in 1994 we said never again... and yet today we face a piece of legislation, the secrecy bill, which threatens that very freedom we fought for," he said.

"This bill will cover up corruption, will keep our citizens uninformed and will destroy the very fabric of our democracy by constraining our media and limiting our freedom of speech."

Wilmot said there were terrible implications for oversight in government should the bill be passed into law.

"Consider for example what government officials could do with a housing list if there was no oversight. A government official could decide who gets housing as he pleases, without accounting to the people," he said.

"He could assign houses to his family, friends or business partners, and no one would be able to expose his corrupt actions. We can never accept that."

Wilmot said the government was focused on guarding secrets when it should be empowering the population and ending poverty.

South Africans needed to stand up and defend freedoms already won "which means we have to stop the Secrecy Bill at all costs", he said.

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