Info bill would've had Zuma in trouble - DA

2011-06-14 22:31

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma would have been in trouble had the protection of information bill been law when the spy tapes that spelled the end of his corruption trial traded hands, DA MP Dene Smuts said on Tuesday.

"Is it the case that the honourable president was in possession of and then disclosed classified police intelligence intercepts which precipitated the collapse of his own prosecution charges of alleged corruption?" Smuts asked during the presidency's budget debate in the National Assembly.

"I ask simply if he does not in fact find himself on the media's side on the subject of possession and disclosure? What has been good for him must of course be good for everyone: he will not want to hold himself above the law," she added.

The National Prosecuting Authority in 2009 withdrew charges that had dogged Zuma for years after his lawyer, Michael Hulley, confronted prosecutors with intercepted conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

The NPA said the tapes suggested political interference regarding a decision to re-institute the charges against Zuma, thereby contaminating the case.

The inspector general for intelligence subsequently investigated how the tapes got into Hulley's possession.

But this remains a mystery because Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence - under the leadership of Cecil Burgess, who also chairs the committee drafting the information bill, refused to make it public.


Opposition MPs, civil society organisations and ANC alliance partner Cosatu have all taken issue with the so-called secrecy bill and threatened to refer it to the Constitutional Court.

Among its contested provisions is a clause making possession of classified information a prisonable offence.

The bill prescribes a minimum sentence of three years for possession and a further five-year minumum sentence for passing on such information to anybody other than the police.

Critics have warned it would curtail media freedom and discourage whistle-blowing.

Smuts said should the ANC drive the bill through Parliament without making major changes to bring it in line with the Constitution, she would petition Zuma not to sign it.

"We will be petitioning him on the protection of information bill under section 79 later this year, asking him to send the bill back here before assent if its unconstititutionalities (at least eight) are not cured."

Following a renewed outcry over the bill, the ruling party appeared to have abandoned plans to finalise it by month's end, and asked for a two-month extension of the lifespan of the drafting committee.


Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  media  |  zuma spy tapes  |  legislation  |  info bill

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


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
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
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! - 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 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’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

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you 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 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.