MPs adopt report on info bill

2013-10-30 22:57
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - MPs adopted a revised report on Wednesday about recent, minor amendments to the protection of state information bill, bringing it a step closer to becoming law.

They added a summary of minority views in which opposition parties stated their concerns that the amendment process was legally flawed, and a further 30 typographical corrections to the bill, to which the opposition also objected on a point of law.

Their argument is that constitutionally the committee had to confine itself to correcting only those parts of the bill pinpointed by President Jacob Zuma when he sent it back to Parliament, and that he failed to provide clarity on what could be changed.

DA MP Dene Smuts reiterated that the ad hoc committee did not have the right to address anything in the bill apart from the constitutional flaws cited by the president, saying: "For obvious reasons we have to oppose. Grammar cannot be corrected under a section 79 referral.

"We did not conclude that the committee has the plenary powers to amend as it wishes."

The meeting, the last before the bill goes back to the National Assembly next week, dissolved into a bitter row over the views the IFP wanted to include in the minority report.

Other parties objected to IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini’s insistence on recording that the committee "wrongly refused to consider" a legal opinion from advocate Anton Katz on the bill.

Smuts said this was factually incorrect as the committee was not asked to consider Katz’s opinion.

"There is no way that I will condone what is essentially a misrepresentation," she said.

The matter was finally settled after State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele proposed recording Oriani-Ambrosini’s request and the reason for rejecting it.

Bill sent back

The bill was sent back to the committee by the National Assembly earlier this month because Oriani-Ambrosini complained to the Speaker that it failed to observe procedural rules when it amended sections 42 and 45.

The amendments were pushed through by the ANC majority on the committee, which adopted the view that Zuma had mandated MPs to rewrite those sections and nothing else when he referred the bill back to its drafters in September.

It involved correcting a cross-reference in section 42 and a punctuation error in section 45 that in effect rendered meaningless a hard-won safeguard on the state’s powers to classify information.

Critics of the contentious bill had hoped that the process would result in far-reaching changes to other sections.

They argue that the bill raises the spectre of excessive state secrecy and have vowed to challenge it in the Constitutional Court.

Read more on:    anc  |  ifp  |  jacob zuma  |  siyabonga cwele  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  info bill

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.