News24

Info bill 'will hide corruption'

2011-10-12 11:35

Johannesburg - A Swiss organisation in South Africa has questioned the government's motives behind the proposed protection of state information bill in light of increasing allegations of corruption.

SwissCham Southern Africa president Jrg Schalch said the organisation, which represents companies including Nestle, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re and UBS, welcomed that the bill had been withdrawn "albeit temporarily" for further consultation.

"We are concerned, however, that the envisaged consultations will take place not through the formal parliamentary committee... but via an internal party [African National Congress] committee," he said in a statement posted on their website on Monday.

"By doing so, such consultations are circumventing the public element indispensable to any democratic process."

Exposing corruption

Schalch said far too little had been done to allay fears of the weakening of journalists’ and whistleblowers’ rights and abilities to expose corruption and malfeasance even if in so doing they made use of classified information.

"To introduce legislation of this kind at a time of mounting allegations of corruption and lack of accountability inevitably prompts the question of whether there is something that needs to be hidden."

It said the bill, if enacted, would erode "checks and balances" vital for fostering foreign business investment.

This was particularly relevant since Switzerland was the fifth most important trading partner with South Africa, said Schalch.

"South Africa’s business environment has, in recent years, been considered a less attractive prospect for investment because of perceptions of over-regulation, uncertainties over property rights, an unbalanced labour law and frequent strikes which often turn violent."

Schalch said this would put any chamber of commerce, which was focusing on fostering of bilateral business relations and promoting foreign direct investments in a challenging position.

"Added to these already negative perceptions, a bill that allows for the suppression of vital information and the erosion of press freedom will serve only to lessen the appetite for doing business in the country and for using it as a base to expand into other parts of the continent," he said.

Insult to the idea of democracy


The proposed bill was also an insult to the idea of democracy.

"To imprison anyone for having the courage to speak out in the public interest is an intolerable affront to democratic values," said Schalch.

Last month, ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga withdrew the bill from the National Assembly programme and set up a task team to oversee a consultation process.

However, this has been criticised by opposition members of Parliament because the task team was not made of multi-party members but purely ANC ones.

Interested parties were also only allowed to make submissions and it was therefore not open for public debate, critics argued.

The bill encountered a wall of opposition when it was first introduced, with critics calling it a return to apartheid-era repression.

Critics also argue that the bill is at odds with the progressive underpinnings of Protection of Access to Information Act and that a public interest defence is needed to protect whistleblowers and the journalists who expose state wrongdoing.

Comments
  • Bardy - 2011-10-12 11:38

    You think so hey? Is this not want the ANC want? So that they can commit their corruption without prosecution?

      Ashley - 2011-10-12 11:42

      But of course that's what they want. They are trying to get this approved quickly, because there are some serious corruption that is about to be exposed...............that will be a serious blow!!

      Alan - 2011-10-12 11:43

      The ANC and their cronies are immune to prosecution. It's part of the deal for them to have immunity. Imagine if all our corrupt leaders were to spill the beans on each other .... the mind boggles!

      George - 2011-10-12 11:47

      But why do the Europeans, Americans, Australians etc invest heavily in autocratic repressive countries that have far more draconian secretive media laws such as, China, Russia, Angola,Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, etc. USA, Europe etc invest heavily in dictorial countries that have no freedom at all. It is rather strange, i do not understand their logic.

      Slartibartfast - 2011-10-12 11:49

      "By doing so, such consultations are circumventing the public element indispensable to any democratic process." No sh1t sherlock!! But the ANC wants exactly this!! To hide their own criminality and that of the 30 year old youths.

      Slartibartfast - 2011-10-12 11:52

      George ... it is called "oil" and also "diamonds" and such things. The investing okes know about the corruption and guard against it. Here, with this new bill (when it is enacted) the corruption will be fully hidden. No guarding against it possible.

      Charles N - 2011-10-12 11:54

      Catch-22: The ANC proposes a penalty/fine if documentation is classified incorrectly. How will anyone know if it is classified incorrectly until they have access to it, which they won't as it will be classified beyond their access. This already happens. Sorry, we can't answer the question of why we spent a fortune on hotels that weren't necessary, due to security. Reality is that if a minister goes to a conference in Cape Town, there are only so many 5 star hotels they would stay at. Someone truly intent on finding this information could do it. So, why hide this information?

      Thandiwe83 - 2011-10-12 11:59

      COSATU are blocking job creation - they just want membership money. Listen to the Swiss regarding investment.

      Thandiwe83 - 2011-10-12 12:14

      The ANC are undoing Madiba's work and taking us back towards apartheid ways.

      Civil_Rights - 2011-10-12 12:17

      We know the corrupt faces but they will be masked behind the Bill.

      Prof - 2011-10-12 12:31

      The media is not supposed to have access to every information. The problem is how the government is gonna classify the information.

      Ozymandios - 2011-10-12 13:10

      Thandiwe 83 we are not being taken back to apardheid ways with this draconian bill, we have never left the aparheid system. Its just the same 'old cake' with different icing on it. This inof bill is maybe more critical than what PW Botha intorduced back in the 1980's but it has the same meaning. Stop the general public from knwoing what is going on so we the government can control the public and say and do just what we like.

      John - 2011-11-17 21:02

      Was Mac Maharaj 1 of the 3 south african communists which went to Moscow before 1994, and were told that communist central control economies do not work? Mac Maharaj quoted numbers from the Soviet Propaganda Book, and the russians laughed and explained to him that all the numbers in the Book were FALSE? How can Mac Maharaj carry on as a communist and a member of the ANC = Association of National Criminals, Abortion Murder Genocide? The russians have dropped the National Democratic Revolution! The chinese have dropped the National Democratic Revolution! The indians have dropped the National Democratic Revolution! What is wrong with Mac Maharaj? Has he been brainwashed? Who were the other communists? Anybody remembers?

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-10-12 11:39

    The entire object of the information bill is to hide corruption. It is also intended to protect the corruptible.

      GypseyAnn - 2011-10-12 11:56

      Precisely!

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-10-12 12:01

      Well... DO YOU SERIOUSLY think the ANC gives a TOSS? It is THEIR TURN at the TROUGH..... and they will TRY ANYTHING, I MEAN ANYTHING, to cover up their "SELF-ENRICHMENT" program!!!!! They "CARE FOR THE POOR".... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!! (Falls off chair)

      DEVILS SON - 2011-10-12 12:16

      its like awwwe the poor shame wena...pass the johnny blue, when you done with that sushi that is

  • Blikskottel - 2011-10-12 11:39

    Let the Swiss no again do what is right and boycott RSA. They did it during apartheid and surely what is happening in RSDA now should be more than enough reason.

      Darwinian - 2011-10-12 11:44

      was thinking exactly the same thing, and it must start where it will hit the most south africans the hardest, by boycotting sport...

      John Jameson - 2011-10-12 12:21

      There's no point in banning the Springboks and Proteas from international sport because the ANC support base largely does not support those sports. And placing a ban on Bafana Bafana will only have a limited impact, mainly because Bafana are nowhere in world sport anyway. Making a boycott threat just ahead of the AFCON cup would have been quite effective if only we had in fact qualified.

      Darwinian - 2011-10-12 12:29

      @John Jameson lmao@ "placing a ban on Bafana Bafana will only have a limited impact, mainly because Bafana are nowhere in world sport anyway" good one!

  • Jimmyfuse - 2011-10-12 11:40

    do we REALLY have to spell it out for these MORONS in government??!?! FFS!!

  • Anneleen - 2011-10-12 11:40

    Info + Hide = ANC

  • Alan - 2011-10-12 11:41

    Of course the Bill will hide corruption - that is exactly what it is designed to do! And we all (unless you are a typical ANCYL supporter) know that corruption is the lifeblood of our politicians and civil servants.

  • PilgrimX - 2011-10-12 11:44

    A final step to becoming a police state with a dictatorship government under the guise of democracy.

  • omrisho - 2011-10-12 11:45

    troll patrol...

  • AndV - 2011-10-12 11:45

    I salute you sir! Only these thugs "running" this country think they are above the law. Their corrupted minds is always thinking of themselves at the cost of those they are supposed to represent. They are a disgrace to humanity to put it mildly, worse that the apartheid regime ever was. Such a bunch of inferior-minded idiots!

  • Born To Fish - 2011-10-12 11:46

    The ANC corrupt? Nevvvvvveeerrr!!!!!

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-10-12 11:49

    Just a few hours ago, our community reached 10 million people! 10 million of us. From every nation, every walk of life. Hopeful, and serious about creating the world we all dream of. Campaign after campaign, we're winning. Not just the little fights, the big ones, the ones they said couldn’t be won. And we're just getting started. http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_secrecy_bill/?vl

      Bouncy - 2011-10-12 12:14

      Hey please guys, if you haven't as yet, please go to http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_secrecy_bill/?vl and get involved - Stop the Secrecy Bill! This is URGENT!!! Thanks!

      Darwinian - 2011-10-12 12:33

      done!!

      resiststance - 2011-10-12 13:09

      Why only call for it to be redrafted though? It should be completely scrapped.

      Bouncy - 2011-10-12 16:38

      @ResistStance good point. You can edit the message drafted there, so feel free to voice your opinion. Also check the following webpage: http://www.avaaz.org/en/south_africa_stop_the_secrecy_bill/96.php

  • Fraudsters - 2011-10-12 11:51

    Better to hide it, I'm sick n tired of reading about it.

  • Liba - 2011-10-12 11:56

    the only cure is to stop voting for it. come 2012 prove it otherwise. stop this stupid logic of not going to vote at all. go and vote but vote for something else.they are so relaxed and even have th nerve to say "ANC will govern till Jesus comes".....wat an ignarant statement to make!!!. put silence to it and stop complaining. as much as i dnt like using a race card but i am 100% black but crap is crap whether who does it. PUT SILENCE TO THE DAMN GOVERNMENT AND VOTE SOMETHING BETTER

  • 7Wonders - 2011-10-12 11:57

    The lease scandals, the R9 billion Mittal Steel deal, the hijacking of companies from the then CIPRO, etc. Surely the General was involved for any personal gain in the lease deals. Poor Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde thought her promotion meat not doing what Mr Doidge was 'fired' for (refusing to be involved in swindling public monies for a few morons). The same probably goes for the other two deals. So, who has the best motive to 'hide' information from the public? Sies! Sometimes one is left to wonder why Thabo Mbeki was so hell-bent on getting rid of some people. He was probably aware of something the South African citizens are slowly starting to notice.

  • crocoros - 2011-10-12 12:03

    Every African country to date that has gained independance and got rid of what the ANC labels as "colonialsists and imperialists" have done absolutely nothing to improve the lives of their people, except enrich themselves. Their leaders live like kings and queens and the masses live in squalor and poverty, what would make South Africa so different, are we not an African country too?, or has all african leaders suffer from the same disease greed and more greed?

  • 7Wonders - 2011-10-12 12:06

    The lease scandals, the R9 billion Mittal Steel deal, the hijacking of companies from the then CIPRO, etc. Surely the General was NOT involved for any personal gain in the lease deals. Poor Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde thought her promotion meant not doing what Mr Doidge was 'fired' for (refusing to be involved in swindling public monies for a few morons). The same probably goes for the other two deals. So, who has the best motive to 'hide' information from the public? Sies! Sometimes one is left to wonder why Thabo Mbeki was so hell-bent on getting rid of some people. He was probably aware of something the South African citizens are slowly starting to notice.

  • Mark Fysh - 2011-10-12 12:07

    "To imprison anyone for having the courage to speak out in the public interest is an intolerable affront to democratic values," said Schalch. Well done Sir!

      gawie b - 2011-10-12 12:32

      I am sitting here in ireland and reading the news and i say to all my colleges i am deeply ashamed about the ongoing situation in my country and hope that maybe one day there will be justice and freedom of speech given back to the press and the people that reads it

  • letsee - 2011-10-12 12:14

    That's the intention of course and it was prepared under false pretences.

  • crythybelovedcountry - 2011-10-12 12:14

    I don't just think its about hiding corruption, I believe the government is so embarrassed about their incompetence that they fear it will affect their elections. I would not want my failures being over the newspapers all the time either. I would affect my ego terribly...

  • Wade Mackintosh - 2011-10-12 12:16

    heres a solution to EVERYONES problems. All ANC & ANCYL officials and supporters go to Zimbabwe. Bob needs a replacement and Im sure the majority of those left there will welcome you with open arms to lead them into further poverty. Leave SA to the Black and White alike who wish to work and live in peace and harmony. Zimbabwe has everything you guys wish to achieve here, no economy, no infrastructure, no education, corruption, nepotism and lets not forget nationalised mines.

  • BusyB - 2011-10-12 12:20

    @Thandiwe83. There was nothing wrong with "apartheid ways"

      Darckie - 2011-10-12 13:21

      u r a drunk

      Daaivark - 2011-10-17 18:56

      How so BusyB - explain please.

  • kuku - 2011-10-12 12:26

    this guyz need to be voted out before they start to be arrogant and beating us for disaggring with them otherwise if we can not do that know, believe me we would be in dark, deep blue see without knowing what to do.

  • improte - 2011-10-12 12:27

    I think they should have called for referandum to test the opinion of the public. However, if they are real champions of transparency and fair, they need to let public to have a vote on the bill. On one side public has outsourced its veto to their representatives who must decide what they think is good for their constituencies. In our country we never have had a referandum since 1994 and there is no signs that we will have in future. Hahahaha **laughing**

  • BirdTheWord - 2011-10-12 12:27

    Haha they are just reviewing the bill so that the next time they bring it out it will be "less obvious" to the public that they are being corrupt. The fact is no matter how hard anyone tries to stop stop the corruption in our gevornment, it will never stop because the government itself doesn't want to stop being corrupt... Why would they stop the corruption if it will mean that in the end they will have less money in their pockets?

  • York Hunt - 2011-10-12 12:29

    Headline should read: "Info bill 'will hide RAMPANT corruption"

  • Paniekbevang - 2011-10-12 12:31

    "Info bill 'will hide corruption'" Well, that is precisely why the ANC government wants it!! Remember, we have a president who is morally corrupt and intellectually barren.

  • ewanvb - 2011-10-12 12:32

    What these idiots don't know is that if there is a certain clause left out of the bill, the bill will be overridden by the constitution and ensure that the perpetrators of crime is prosecuted and the whistle blower will not be. So let them draft their own doom.

  • Snow F Lake - 2011-10-12 12:39

    Thank you to the Swiss for pointing out what South Africans seem powerless to stop as our country continue's freedom and constitutional rights continue to be bulldozed through by the very people sworn to protect it: President Jacob Zuma and his anti-white, racist ANC cronies. The info bill is designed to cover-up the rife ANC government corruption, starting at our president, mussel journalists, oppress the South African people and keep the cronies in the ruling party in charge of this increasing mess at their hands "They do not represent me, they represent themselves"

  • Gary Jurgens - 2011-10-12 12:45

    Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin all die and go to hell. While there, they spy a red phone and ask what the phone is for. The devil tells them it is for calling home back on Earth. Putin asks to call Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he was finished the devil informs him that the cost is a million dollars, so Putin writes him a cheque. Next Queen Elizabeth calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When she was finished the devil informs her that cost is 6 million dollars, so Queen Elizabeth writes him a cheque. Finally Nelson Mandela gets his turn and talks for 4 hours. When he was finished the devil informed him that there would be no charge for the call and feel free to call South Africa anytime. When Putin hears this he goes ballistic and asks the devil why Nelson Mandela got to call South Africa free. The devil replied, "Since Jacob Zuma became president of South Africa , the country has gone to hell, so it's a local call

  • Bouncy - 2011-10-12 12:58

    Hey everyone, let's check ourselves before we comment- "What are we doing about it?" We can do our bit by getting involved. Go to: http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_secrecy_bill/?vl and let your voice be heard/read if you haven't yet. Food for thought - "The world is a dangerous place, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." Albert Einstein

  • Antwahn - 2011-10-12 13:17

    @ George. The answer to your question is simple and even contained in Schalch's statement. They are not directly concerned in democracy per se, but in the economic repercussions of the lack thereof will have on their investments and trade. For the money-orientated Swiss it's all about the money. And it happens to be so that a free democracy offers the best route to everybody's wealth -if not to the corrupt maaifoedies', of course. But you are right; it appears hypocritical to heavily trade with e.g. China and to talk like this. But remember: Big China is not open to pressure (and the maaifoedies are are very spineless), and in China at least there's no current trend towards an even more repressive administration -in SA the signs and trends are dark indeed.

  • letsdance - 2011-10-12 15:38

    Where's Rubbish I dont see any of his comments...To hard for him to read understand I suppose....Retard

      Daaivark - 2011-10-17 19:05

      Who's Rubbish ?

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