News24

Info bill tarnishes SA, legal groups say

2011-12-04 23:19

Johannesburg - South Africa's record as a beacon of democracy was being tarnished by the protection of State information bill (POIB), said legal advocacy bodies in a joint statement on Sunday.

Freedom Under Law and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in London said, "The South African Constitution is a model to the world in its endorsement of the rule of law.

"The core principle is that no one is above the law, as interpreted by a judiciary that is independent of government influence."

The groups said South Africa's Constitution was one of the first to include the right of access to information, in order to promote government accountability.

The recent proposals also threatened an about-turn in South Africa from the rule of law, towards authoritarian attitudes of the past.

"In particular, the POIB will curtail openness of the exercise of public power, make it more difficult to combat corruption, and will reduce governmental accountability and fair sentencing in trials."

Both organisations were also deeply concerned about Cabinet-commissioned research to test whether the courts were pursuing goals such as transformation.

"This kind of inquiry, dressed up as an objective and innocent investigation, is completely unjustified."

In contrast, the South African Communist Party (SACP) said on Sunday "that the intent and scope of the [information] bill were absolutely essential for the consolidation and flourishing of our democracy."

The SACP said while the South African National Editors Forum had "persuaded itself and parts of the public that the bill is primarily directed at the media", the real challenge facing South Africa was factionalised intelligence and security services embroiled in "palace politics and tenderpreneuring rivalries".

"This bill seeks, quite correctly, to criminalise information peddling, pay-as-you-go information declassification, and the by-passing of what must now become clearly defined procedures for handling sensitive state information," they said.

Comments
  • Susanna - 2011-12-05 00:09

    I wonder what the ANC is plotting against it's people...what do they have in store for us? Since we don't have a right to know I guess they plan to surprise us with a future dictator whom Mugabe would like to invite for Nandos to the tune of "Your my best friend"....

      Ronald - 2011-12-05 10:22

      Fortunately the state of the police and defence force will seriously curtail the government from preventing the revolt by the gatvol voters of this country. That is if these agencies do not partake in the revolt.

  • Peter - 2011-12-05 01:04

    So far I have not yet come across any sensible argument as to why a state should have ANY secrets. I'll admit that certain activities might require a short-term withholding of information but why for decades, or as this bill has no automatic declassification clause, possibly forever. What we do know from declassified into is that it often just lies and irrational government actions that was hidden.

      cupcake - 2011-12-05 09:37

      only corruption comes to mind...

      George - 2011-12-05 10:47

      When a new party takes over, no thing like the trc and no prosecutions for them and no stolen money to repay

  • champ.bopape - 2011-12-05 03:17

    The ANC has never been the same again, since Polokwane. It is unfortunate that Government has since shifted its focus from being government by the people for the people to a bully that does everything to get whatever it wants even if it hurts the very legacy former president Mandela has built. One just wonders if common sense will prevail ever again. South Africa used to be the envy of nations and the pride of Africa, but... Alas! Here we are. We are no longer different from any corrupt and dictatorial country on our continent. Our voice on the global stage has since become nothing but an empty tin.

  • mariuskowie - 2011-12-05 06:01

    "Info bill tarnishes SA" It Tars and Feathers it!

  • Larry - 2011-12-05 06:54

    The Info Bill is another alarm signal that the ANC want to turn SA into just another basket case African country.

      frank.hartry - 2011-12-05 08:31

      Once the Cover up Info Secrecy Bill is suuported by a defunct South African communist led by a dedicated stalinist communist Mr Rich Blade Nsimande, you just know that it is draconian. Nsimande is a disgrace as a human being and is obviously only out to enrich himself.

  • malcolm - 2011-12-05 07:02

    What the Bingham centre is basically saying, is that the current ANC government want to take us back to apartheid. Nothing more, and nothing less. The ANC are doing an about turn on a sound democratic constitution. Probably the best constitution in the world. They do this, purely because democracy does not aid their criminal mindsets. It has become a thorn in their sides and a stumbling block in the way of huge illegal self enrichment.

  • gembleton1 - 2011-12-05 07:28

    A one party state like the rest of Africa, the world can see it and the people of SA can see it yet the ANC and its puppets carry on, what a shame and they said we will never be like the rest of dictatorial Africa, the bill is just a smoke screen because the ANC knows it is corrupt and that is the only way it can hide information from the public to keep it in power ,1994 a sad day for SA

  • Herman - 2011-12-05 07:43

    Hello Apartheid........welcome back........ What the hell did the anc fight against, just to start reinstating the worst thing ever......dumbest lot of people ever to walk the earth these anc idiots!

  • frank.hartry - 2011-12-05 08:25

    The ANC is uncannily similar to ZANUPF. it believes that it alone liberated South Africa from apartheid and that it alone should rule this country for ever more. The ANC also believes that the state coffers are for the personal use of their own politicians and to hell with the poor unemployed people of South Africa. ZANUPF has exactly the same attitude and once there became an obvious political party with strong support from the people developing in Zimbabwe during the early 1990s Mugabe and his ZANUPF set about destroying the country. That is what is beginning to appear with the ANC under Zuma in South Africa. The coverup secrecy bill is just the beginning in my opinion.

  • Kimcy1 - 2011-12-05 09:32

    Ordinary citizens do not realise the implications of this Bill as it has far reaching effects on their normal everyday living. I am taking a 1/2 day tomorrow to do a protest on the POIB at the ICC as there will be a lot of foreign press there so we can get it advertised in the world with diplomatic pressure to bear if not sanctions to stop this Bill. This Bill is purely to protect ANC thievery of public money (Rates and taxes) with impunity.This is moving back to a Vervoed era and it started with BOSS (Bureau Of State Security) where a lot of people were jailed beaten and under house arrest for opposition. The process now questions "will we have a state of emergency," which will be purely sited on a race issue of imperialist capatilists and the sheeple will be non the wiser.

  • Jacqui - 2011-12-06 09:35

    Sometimes they want to shoot themselves in the foot, maybe we will get lucky.

  • Linda - 2011-12-06 18:06

    The ordinary citizens have voted for the ANC and they are happy with the bill as they continue to vote for the ANC. The people have confidence in the ANC.

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