New rush to get info bill adopted

2011-08-26 09:28

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 - The ANC intends wrapping up work on the protection of information bill next week and put it to the vote in the National Assembly, though political parties remain at odds over key aspects of the new state secrets legislation.

“We should be finished by the end of next week,” Cecil Burgess, the chairperson of the ad hoc committee drafting the bill, said on Thursday.

“They [MPs] have had enough time to debate now. If they cannot reach consensus then we will put it to the vote. I have given them time, I have asked them to consult in the corridors and find each other. They cannot say they were not given time to put their point of view,” he told Sapa.

“The house will vote on this before the 15th of September.”

Impatience to finalise the fractious drafting process has been palpable in recent days, as political parties reached an agreement on narrowing the application of the bill, a move welcomed by activists and academics.

Major setback


But on Thursday they stumbled into a fresh disagreement which the opposition described as a major setback. It relates to the test to be applied for classifying information as confidential. MPs had agreed earlier that potential threats to national security would be the only grounds for keeping information secret. However, the additional grounds of a threat to security, without any further qualification, found itself into the latest draft.

The ANC’s Luwellyn Landers said it was the work of a senior advocate consulted by the opposition, but should stay in the bill.

“They put it in and we said okay. Now why should we take it out?” he asked.

The DA said it had the assurance of the advocate that the inclusion was a simple error, and retaining it would create the risk of over-classification.

“The concept is not only overly broad, but it is not clear. And because of that I think it once again raises the issue of constitutionality,” DA MP David Maynier said, adding that the issue was “one giant leap backwards”.

Earlier the ANC accepted additions to the definition of national security proposed by the DA, which further narrow down the concept by stating expressly that secrecy should be allowed only to counter threats clearly aimed at “undermining the constitutional order of the republic”.

Public interest defence lacking

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart also warned the new development could have serious consequences.

“It would have a direct impact on classification levels and make a mockery of narrowing down the definition of national security.”

The biggest concern for opposition lawmakers, activists and trade unions however remained the absence in the bill of a public interest defence that would protect journalists and whistleblowers who publish secret information to expose corruption.

The ANC has said time and again it would not countenance such a provision.

Civil society groups are also wary of a clause that gives intelligence agents the power to classify anything deemed a state security matter.

The opposition is expected to fight hard in the final days of deliberations to have it scrapped.

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cecil burgess  |  david maynier  |  legislation  |  info bill  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SA men take relay silver

20 minutes ago

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
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

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

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. 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

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...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.