Officials deadlocked on info bill changes

2012-06-13 22:34
All further meetings of the committee redrafting the protection of state information bill have been cancelled after ANC MPs and the department of state security deadlocked on proposed changes. (File, Sapa)

All further meetings of the committee redrafting the protection of state information bill have been cancelled after ANC MPs and the department of state security deadlocked on proposed changes. (File, Sapa)

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

Cape Town - All further meetings of the committee redrafting the protection of state information bill have been cancelled after ANC MPs and the department of state security deadlocked on proposed changes.

A parliamentary official confirmed on Wednesday that meetings scheduled for the next week were scrapped to give political parties time to deliberate on the way forward.

The chairperson of the ad hoc committee, Raseriti Tau, will now seek an extension of the lawmakers' 22 June deadline to report back to the National Council of Provinces.

The move comes after government on Tuesday objected to amendments proposed by the ANC in May, in response to sustained criticism of the bill and threats to take it on constitutional review.

The department of state security rejected proposals by the ruling party to give greater protection to whistle-blowers, to remove all minimum prison sentences from the bill and to narrow the definition of national security.

Acting director general of state security, Dennis Dlomo, said the term needs to be broadly defined to allow the government to use the legislation to respond to emerging threats.

He also dismissed a proposal by opposition parties to delete a provision that the new classification law would trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act if the two came into conflict.

Critics have repeatedly warned that the provision, contained in section 1(4), is patently unconstitutional.

Rights groups cautiously welcomed the ANC's proposed amendments last month, but urged the ruling party to go further and include a public interest defence for those charged with revealing state secrets.

The ANC's MPs made a gesture in this direction by proposing that people who reveal classified information to expose criminal wrongdoing be exempt from prosecution.

However, the department also rejected this amendment, along with the ANC's stated readiness to remove clauses that would, according to legal experts, place an unacceptably heavy onus on those charged under the legislation.

The director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre, Alison Tilley, said the department's attempt to prescribe to lawmakers was problematic.

"There's clearly an attempt from the executive branch of government to tell Parliament how it should and should not legislate, which demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the doctrine of separation of powers."

The bill was passed by the National Assembly late last year amid threats of legal challenge unless it were significantly rewritten.

The ANC then embarked on a process of public consultation in provinces and in March held renewed public hearings, where presenters from veteran rights lawyer George Bizos to Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi warned it would be struck down by the Constitutional Court.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  george bizos  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  media  |  info bill
NEXT ON NEWS24X
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
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette

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

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...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.