DA backs Motlanthe on info bill

2012-08-30 19:01
Almost half of South Africans say the protection of state information bill will limit media freedom, according to a survey. (File, Sapa)

Almost half of South Africans say the protection of state information bill will limit media freedom, according to a survey. (File, Sapa)

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Cape Town - The DA has backed Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's stance on referring the protection of state information bill to the Constitutional Court before it is signed into law.

"This is another indication that the ANC is slowly bowing to pressure from the opposition and the public around this controversial bill," Democratic Alliance spokesperson Alf Lees said on Thursday.

Motlanthe told reporters in Cape Town on Wednesday night that it would be wise for President Jacob Zuma to refer the bill to the Constitutional Court for certification.

"We would not hesitate to say to the president 'send it to the Constitutional Court for certification before assenting to it'.

"That is almost a given, given the amount of controversy that has surrounded this process. That is the way to go," Motlanthe said.

Lees said the remarks followed the significant concessions made on Wednesday by the ANC in deliberations in the National Council of Provinces' ad hoc committee on the bill, of which he is a member.

"We do, however, want further amendments to be made before the bill goes back to the National Assembly and from there to the president."

These included the removal of provincial archives from the bill's provisions, amendments to the "opt-in" clause, and the removal of all minimum sentences, he said.

The bill has sparked two years of sustained protest and has resulted in media houses, activists, and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) threatening to challenge it in the Constitutional Court.

The ANC's proposals included removing a clause which prohibited the disclosure of any state security matter, and which had been criticised by opponents as raising the spectre of returning South Africa to apartheid era secrecy by drawing a veil over the workings of the intelligence community.

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  alf lees  |  media  |  legislation  |  info bill
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