IFP calls for information bill protest

2011-05-27 20:39


Cape Town - Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini on Friday issued a call for popular protest to keep the Protection of Information Bill from becoming law.

"The time for protest is now, before it is too late," Oriani-Ambrosini said.

"Now is the time to occupy this place," he said of Parliament, adding that the remark was only "nominally" metaphorical.

Oriani-Ambrosini said the contentious draft law, which imposes a minimum prison term of 15 years for anybody who publishes a state secret, did not reflect the will of South Africans.

Instead it was clearly imposed by the top echelons of the ANC who were rejecting "the liberal agenda" the party followed for 15 years after the end of apartheid.

The nine ANC MPs on the ad hoc committee dealing with the bill were divided into those who did not grasp its repercussions and those who were clearly uncomfortable with it but had to follow political orders, he said.

Public ignored

"This bill does not reflect the will of the people. When there is a divorce between public policy and public opinion democracy does not work.

"Public submissions have been ignored and now even common sense is being ignored."

Opposition MPs should use filibustering - any means of obstructing legislation within Parliament - to block its passage, he said.

The DA said it planned to petition the president not to sign the law.

"We will listen to his proposal but I think we prefer the tried and trusted route of petitioning the President not to sign it into law," DA MP Dene Smuts said.

"The President cannot just sign the bill, he has to apply his mind as to its constitutionality," she said.

No indefinite debate

The party has successfully done so in the past with former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.

But its court bid to prove that President Jacob Zuma failed to apply his mind when he appointed Menzi Simelane as head of the National Prosecuting Authority failed.

The opposition's plans to halt the passage of the bill after it became clear this week that the committee was embarking on a drive to get it through Parliament without major further amendments.

The deadline for the committee to complete its work is June 24.

On Tuesday the chairperson, Cecil Burgess, stated that he would not allow indefinite debate on the bill and instead began putting contentious clauses to the vote.

This allowed the ANC majority to dismiss opposition arguments that the bill should neither apply to all organs of state nor give the minister of state security the power to determine when and how information is classified in government departments.

Apartheid era repression

Opposition MPs have termed this the "Stasi clause" in reference to East Germany's feared secret police and said it would entrench the existing situation where spies meddled in all areas of government and abused their powers.

The bill caused a public outcry last year. Academics, activists, journalists and former cabinet ministers warned it was an unconstitutional attempt to curtail media freedom and criticism of the government.

This week the Right2Know Campaign, which was born last year in response to the bill, said the legislation was reminiscent of apartheid-era repression and called for a revived campaign to stop the ANC ramming it through Parliament.

Idasa said it would not only affect the media, but would also infringe on the rights of poor communities by drawing a veil over the workings of government, including service delivery.


Read more on:    anc  |  right2know  |  ifp  |  legislation  |  media

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.