Info bill briefing - opposition walks out

2011-02-15 17:56

kalahari.com

  • The Da Vinci Method
    Break Out & Express Your Fire. Discover and master the fiery temperament shared by great leaders. Now R311.00
    buy now

Cape Town - Opposition parties on Tuesday walked out of a government presentation on the contentious protection of information bill because they claim that the lifespan of the committee drafting the bill was extended unlawfully.

"It is our view that there is no ad hoc committee," Democratic Alliance MP Dene Smuts objected, challenging the ANC position that the lifespan of the committee had been extended to March 31.

Her colleague from the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini added: "We are just a group of MPs shooting the breeze."

He said the lack of mandate from the National Assembly meant that any decision of the part of the committee would have no standing and any resources used by it would amount to unauthorised expenditure.

The African Christian Democratic Party joined the DA and IFP in walking out from the meeting, before the department of state security began its briefing on international best practice on the classification of information.

Acccording to the opposition, the speaker's office has no authority to reconstitute the committee and its recourse to Rule 2 of the legislature was flawed.

"(It) gives the Speaker the power to frame a rule where no rule exists and in case of an unforeseen eventuality. This rule only applies in the respect of the conduct of proceedings," Oriani-Ambrosini said.

Committee chairperson Cecil Burgess rejected the views of the opposition parties as plainly "wrong" and said he was bound by a decision by the deputy speaker in January to extend the life of the committee.

"The issues you raise are insignificant," he added.

The issue arose because a sitting of the National Assembly on January 28 at which the committee had to report to Parliament was postponed.

That date also marked the expiry of a the lifespan of the committee, which has repeatedly been extended as controversy about the wide powers the bill gives the state to keep information secret rages on.

Culture of secrecy

Burgess told the media at the end of last month that committee meetings would carry early this month, but afterwards the committee disappeared off Parliament's schedule until Tuesday.

The DA told Sapa it had formally objected to the Speaker's office.

The Speaker's office confirmed that the lifespan of the committee was extended in terms of Rule 2, in a letter dated January 28.

Earlier on Tuesday, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in a presentation to the portfolio committee on justice signalled its concern about the bill, and what deputy chairperson Pregs Govender termed "the culture of secrecy" in the South African government.

Govender told MPs the SAHRC's mandate to monitor compliance with the Protection of Access to Information Act (PAIA) had made it keenly aware that South Africa was struggling to shake off a mindset of state secrecy.

"It has been difficult to get government departments to understand the culture of openness and transparency," she said.

"We came out of a culture of secrecy as a country in 1994 and that culture is a very hard one to break."

Govender said the SAHRC was therefore "wary" of a call by the ANC, backed by several opposition MPs, to link PAIA and the protection of information bill by stipulating that any request for declassification should be made using the provisions of the earlier legislation.

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  ifp  |  media  |  legislation  |  info bill
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may be bothering you. A flooded mind and impulsive reactions are not a good combination as you are not thinking clearly....read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.