Opposition cries foul over info bill move

2011-09-27 21:13

Cape Town - The ANC has set up a ruling party-only mechanism to consider further submissions on the protection of information bill.

The move was swiftly condemned by the opposition as an abuse of parliamentary process.

The office of ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said on Tuesday the party would establish a special committee to co-ordinate public engagement - including countrywide hearings - on the contentious bill.

It is also setting up an ANC study group on the bill, which will consider written and oral submissions from interested parties in Parliament.

Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the study group would comprise the ANC MPs who served on the now defunct multi-party ad hoc committee that drafted the bill.

It is inviting submissions to or ANC Information Bill Office, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, PO Box 15, Cape Town, 8001.

Totally unacceptable

The Democratic Alliance and African Christian Democratic Party cried foul over the exclusion of the opposition from what pertains to be a parliamentary process.

Right2Know campaign co-ordinator Murray Hunter also called for other parties to be involved.

"Public consultation is not something one party should own. What we don't want is public consultations stage managed by the ANC to spin this bill to the public," he said.

ACDP MP Steve Swart, who was a member of the ad hoc committee, said: "I find the ANC's approach unprecedented, and totally unacceptable. The bill is before Parliament which includes many, many political parties, not just the ANC... and the process seems fatally flawed from the beginning."

Dene Smuts and David Maynier from the DA said if the ANC sincerely wanted to invite submissions on the bill it would do so in a reconstituted multi-party ad hoc committee.

They said instead, the ruling party appeared to want to manipulate public opinion.

"Consultative caravans like these are the time-honoured ANC method of manipulating public opinion and then presenting the pre-determined result as the voice of the people," they said.

"The question is only which side of the divided ANC will predetermine the result."

Formal objection

The bill was due to be debated in the National Assembly last Tuesday and widely expected to be passed thanks to the ANC's overwhelming majority. But it was taken off the programme on the eve of the vote.

The move came amid a reported rift in the ANC's national executive committee over the bill and unhappiness on key provisions on the part of the Congress of SA Trade Unions, a formal alliance partner.

Said Smuts and Maynier: "Submissions taken by a secretariat serving only the ANC study group will likewise emerge manipulated and massaged to suit whichever faction is in the ascendancy."

The DA planned to lodge a formal objection to Parliament's whippery.

It said if the ruling party "persists in this abuse of taxpayers' money", it would urge civil society to use the addresses provided for submissions on the bill, to protest against the process.

Mothapo gave assurances the legislature would not be made to pay for any part of the process, even if new submissions were heard in Parliament.

"We will devise means, but Parliament is not paying for it."

He said ANC MPs would use their constituency allocation to pay for expenses incurred to consult communities on the legislation.

Highly unusual

Judith February from the Institute for Democracy in Africa (Idasa) said the process was highly unusual, and warned that the parliamentary process could not be partisan.

"Of course the ANC is within its rights to solicit as many viewpoints as possible, but when it comes to a parliamentary process it must include other parties."

February said the courts had been very clear on this principle and a deviation could be contested.

"If they don't do this properly, if they undertake a parliamentary process without incorporating views of all citizens, it is something which civil society groups or opposition can challenge legally."

The bill seeks to regulate the classification of state information and would repeal legislation from 1982, but critics say it harks back to apartheid-era secrecy.

Academics, activists and journalists argue that it fails to balance the need to protect national security with the constitutional imperative of transparency.

Various groups have vowed to challenge the bill in court if passed in its current form.

  • kalabafazi - 2011-09-27 21:23

    Nothing the ANC do is fair, transparent or for the good of the people. So we can e-mail, fax and post all the submissions we want but the fact remains that the e-mails will be deleted and the faxes and post will be sent to recyclers and the ANC will push this bill through by majority vote. So again my submission is "f#$k you!

      Atholl - 2011-09-27 21:43

      This plan - to undermine and lessen the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - for: ........ Power .... (mind)Control ..... Money ... Bill Of Rights ... S16 clearly states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including : (a) freedom of the press (b) freedom to receive or impart information and ideas. Not even a Judge has the right to suppress or restrict freedom of expression except where this freedom advocates : (a) war (b) violence (c) hatred toward race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Best advice is to be a good spectator, to observe these Goebbels-sonic fools ... allow them in a Scorpionic manner to belittle themselves .... ... and then to overturn the process at the ConCourt. It's not really the Power or the Control that's the Problem .... ..... it's the money ... the anything for money mindset ... that's the danger.

      cliffarc - 2011-09-27 21:48

      - Dont understand why the Anc bothered to postpone the bill hearing in the first place. Their call for submissions from other parties was a lie- they're going right ahead and railroading this obnoxious piece of legislation. We can kiss our freedom's and civil rights goodbye. It would almost appear , they are preparing the country for a Chinese style dictatorship - possibly even a hand over.

      Pigscanfly - 2011-09-27 21:50

      I could not agree more. I really thought back in 1994 that the ANC would lead the nation as a disciplined, non racial, transparent party for all South Africans to look up to and follow. Unfortunately I dread this party, it reminds me of a party that once ruled Germany and their leader had a small mustache and they used to put their hands out stiff is a salute, and their flag had something like four sevens at 90 degrees to each other...mmmm...I wonder if I am just a little paranoid?

      Fred - 2011-09-27 22:01

      Does anybody in the world think that tha ANC government hasn't got everything to hide?????? They will now just continue to steal this country dry, without repurcussion. I think it's time for an "Arab Spring" to happen here, and get rid of these greedy pigs.

      rosemari - 2011-09-28 02:20

      The ANC is doing more damage than good, they seem to stop at nothing to over their own @sse. More tax money wasted. The money can be put to a better use by building homes for those who are in need of them. Please think of these people and not yourself...please build homes and bridges for the people of south africa.

      Al - 2011-09-28 11:29

      Errmmmm just read the article and look how bad they are. Are you blind?

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-09-27 21:27

    And this coming from he great ANC who FOUGHT FOR DEMOCRACY... Absolutely pathetic... but PW Botha would be oh-so proud of the way they are thinking!! Congratulations, your 100 years has turned you into another scared-abusive-typical-african-political-tyrant-story. This is truly a sad sad day

      PB - 2011-09-28 08:00

      The ANC is doing EXACTLY what PW Botha did in the bad old days before they realised the Rubicon fiasco is the end of the line. Congratulations, ANC - you are as stupid and pathetic as the NP of that time. The only reason they are so hellbent on passing this act, is because all the dirt is coming out and they realise that their own people are getting as fed up about the gravy train as the rest of the nation. And then zuma arranged for judge moegoe to make sure the concourt would rubberstamp whatever the anc wants. PATHETIC

  • africanwolf - 2011-09-27 21:38

    Communism at is best next time they are going to stop people in the street and ask why they are not at work absurd

  • Phaedioux - 2011-09-27 21:38

    This is apparently the African form of democracy? Appoint your buddies to all the best jobs irrespective of wheter they have the skills or competency and bash selfprotective laws through to ensure that you can do what you like. It was not even properly debated in parliament! They are pathetic anyway - just 'rubber stamps'!

  • Bart23 - 2011-09-27 21:44

    What and how much are they hiding?

  • Ignes Fatui - 2011-09-27 21:47

    The communist anc government is probably the biggest hypocrites the world has ever come to know. But as time is running out very very fast for the worst criminals in office, the roof will get even hotter by the day. You are so right comrades, your time is up. The desperation is written all over your pathetic undemocratic actions.

  • rasklot - 2011-09-27 22:00

    Animal Farm..........big time !!

      Phaedioux - 2011-09-27 22:21

      You are quite right! - I wonder when 'Dobbin' is being sent to the glue factory (you can choose any of the current better performers for this fate!). We are at the stage where the animals have just noticed that their constitution which used to read "All animals are equal" has just been altered with new words, written in blood, that have been added which read "but, some animals are more equal than others!".

  • AwakenSA - 2011-09-27 22:23

    It is indeed unfortunate, when one needs to take such a strong stand of patriotism against ones government, that it becomes overwhelmingly dishonouring to them. It is equally unfortunate, that the unscrupulous New ANC unashamedly invoke such extreme responses, by their dogged determination to pursue all that is deceitful, blatantly unconstitutional or democratic, and all that is contrary to societal morality and governmental norms. Clearly their intention is to manipulate public opinion, and to cow into submission those within their ranks, who were the cause of the bill not being tabled in parliament recently. To those patriots, stand firm in opposing this New ANC rabble, and continue to do what is right. All power to the parliamentary opposition - keep on top of this evil of the secrecy bill, and keep on top of the corrupt to the core New ANC, who wish only lingering death upon all the peoples of South Africa - yes, even those who willingly fall into filthy communist deceit.

  • 106SA - 2011-09-27 22:34

    Hide;lie;non transparent;never to be accountable = ANC!!!!!!!

  • Peter - 2011-09-27 23:00

    Did the ANC leadership get brain transplants from the departing Apartheid Government leaders? By any standard, this is a shocker. Go ANC, go ............ away.

  • Thobile - 2011-09-27 23:52

    whether the ANC does good it will b challenged so it is best to do what they fill is best. you have our support all the way as citizens of this country. you will never make the opposition happy so why not do what makes you happy. 222gether we can do more they will follow

      Lawence - 2011-09-28 01:09

      So you believe that this law is good for the country? You believe that it is constitutional? That it is right? Or do you support everythng the ANC does, Right or Wrong?

      Kaizo - 2011-09-28 02:09

      @Thobile - your comment spews ignorance. You fail to see the larger scale of damage a law like this can do to the country as a whole, and to ALL it's people. FYI no Opposition party has ever challenged a LEGAL law created by the ANC, only unconstitutional laws are challenged. If the ANC doesn't want laws challenged in court they need to start making laws that abide by the constitution, then there will be no grounds at all to challenge them, period. ANC supporters have truly lost sight of what they spent years fighting for, they've become sheep, and willing to settle for less cause they believe all the lies told to them by their corrupt party. People in poor rural area's definitely need more access to media and information (preferably in their own language) so they can see the true face of their government, and learn to formulate their own opinion instead of just following everything their party tells them. The maybe this country will have some hope for the future.

      emile.marais - 2011-09-28 02:26

      Thobile, while I admire your optimism, your blind loyalty should be a concern to any rational thinking South African. The Middle-East is fighting for their freedom, while we are giving our freedom away. Live and learn as they say...

      Mandla - 2011-09-28 02:36

      Kaizo-stop complaining there is no democracy in South Africa,stop refaring to the constuitution as we do not have one,the one on paper is a compromised constitution.

      Lofty - 2011-09-28 07:14

      @Thobile - You definitely seem to believe in the saying "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" as well as the saying "Ignorance is bliss". When in 5 years time when the millions of underprivileged are still living in absolute poverty, you will not even be able to see where your tax money is being spent.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-09-28 07:23

      Thobile, whilst there was a 9 to 1 majority for black people in this country Apartheid still ruled for decades.... Why? Because people followed the word of the government. Until people started speaking/acting out... YOUR government is now starting to implement the laws of Stalin, of Hitler, of Mugabe etc... The ANC has always talked about "discussion" and "process"... The fact that that a national concern to them should not be discussed on a national level is very very scary

      Blikskottel - 2011-09-28 07:45

      You are truly very naive and ignorant.

      JemAtkins - 2011-10-04 11:18

      So Thobile, allow me to summarise ur argument: "Whether the ANC does good or bad, they will be challenged...therefore, dont worry about doing good because the outcome is the same - do what u want." Do you know what a democracy is? I actually wont even bother trying to make you understand.

  • Prom - 2011-09-28 00:36

    The ANC doesn't want to hear any "voice of the people". It's time people in this country wake up to the fact that giving any party more say than another, much less a majority, is not in the interest of anyone. Zimbabwe started like this. We need to have a system where ordinary people can put their vote behind any party whenever they want and not just every 5 years come election time. That is the only form of democracy and not these imitations they are passing off on us that has proven a failure in every country in the world.

      Mandla - 2011-09-28 02:28

      Its not ordinary people who are challenging this law but minoritty groups who feel they are not head by the majority people.A lot of people particulary the minority always like to compare us with Zimbabwe especialy if they do not like what is being proposed,i think thats ignorant.There is one thing i would like the minority to compare us with Zim for that is education.Zimbabwe gave its citizen a gift which no one will take away from them no matter how poor they might be,Zibabwe educated its citizen with the best education system Africa will ever produce.South Africa has a huge economy but it is failing to give its citizen a gift for life which is education.Zambia is one country in Africa which democratic the rest of African states are undemocratic.South Africa has the best compromised constitution in the world and it is not democratic.So please stop comparing our situations with Zimbabwe as we do not have what it takes to be compared to Zimbabwe its cheap propaganda politics by minority groups.

      PB - 2011-09-28 08:09

      Mandla, I gather the millions of happy, educated Zimbos who flooded to South Africa agree with you. Maybe Zim provided their citizens with a good education BUT THAT IS ALL!!!!

      GT - 2011-09-28 08:20

      Minority groups like cosatu? Wake up Mandla and remember, when you are in a corner and the security police come knocking on your door, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO TURN... having already cut down all the laws that protect you. You are sleep walking into a classic trap laid by governments the world over. The problem we have is that we treat politicians as heros instead of the poephols they are. They CANNOT be trusted. None of them. They will do what is best for THEM. They will tell you that the public cannot handle the truths they hold secret. Mate, once they start that, you must know that they are hiding things that would make them lose their jobs. They are people, not the superheros they think they are.

  • Joegenade - 2011-09-28 05:53

    Animal by page.

  • albino - 2011-09-28 06:27

    Zimbabwe in the making..... The anc MUST BE STOPPED before there is a civil war in this country

      Cromag - 2011-09-28 11:44

      that might be the only thing that can stop them

  • Proudly SA - 2011-09-28 07:08

    How can anybody with a conscience or good value system vote for the modern ANC? Recall this is also same organisation who support Gadaffi who carried out atrocities 100 x worse than ever happened in RSA. I trust world leaders that meet Zuma are giving him a good roasting for RSA deranged confused foreign policy and this type of nonsense

  • letsee - 2011-09-28 07:09

    The ANC is a one party state and it will become very clear on the day they are about to lose election.

  • Hoppy42 - 2011-09-28 07:15

    Maybe i live in cloud cookoo land but - imagine the opposition parties, together with the trade unions who oppose this legislation arranging a march against this draconian law. Imagine 50 - 100 thousand people, in JHB, CT, Durban, Bloem and Pretoria, taking to the streets to voice their displeasure. Can COSATU and the DA get together this one time and make it happen????

      Vincent - 2011-09-28 15:17

      I have never protested in my life but I will for this, because I really believe with all my heart that this is wrong and not fair, and government is not listening! Where do I sign up?

  • Happygas - 2011-09-28 07:21


  • Blikskottel - 2011-09-28 07:44

    In politics nothing happens without areason and the reasons here are much more sinister than most people think.

  • Elle_black - 2011-09-28 07:58

    why am i not surprized

  • DW - 2011-09-28 08:16

    Get on with it so that we can challenge this bill in the constitutional court - but then, Zooma will ensure that his big cheese heads up the constitutional hearings and push it through in any case. Banana Republic?

      Gramsci - 2011-09-29 00:00

      DW -- Unfortunately, Zuma has already anticipated a Concourt challenge. That's why he wanted Moegoeng as head of Concourt. Remember what Ramatlodi confessed the other day: The ANC "gave away" too much power; and now it wants that power back. Basically, they've become African Fascists.

  • eric.vanvuuren - 2011-09-28 08:36

    Im sorry this is not an anc matter it should be the pushed by the covt. not the anc chief pip

  • Darwinian - 2011-09-28 11:37

    UBUNTU my ass.....

      Darwinian - 2011-09-28 11:40

      Nevermind Batho Pele...

  • ruben.maistry - 2011-09-28 14:53

    Mass action by the people of South Africa now!!! before it's too late.Prevention is beter than cure.

  • Vincent - 2011-09-28 15:12

    From what I can see, reading forums, surfing the net, facebook, tv and radio discussions, is that literally most South Africans do not think this bill is a good idea and yet, government seems hell bent to go right ahead and do it anyways. Screw the people...

  • Gramsci - 2011-09-28 23:55

    People who support this bill obviously don't understand democracy. They also don't seem to realise that this bill does not just affect the press. It takes away YOUR OWN DEMOCRATIC rights. It is easy to talk about giving up your rights for the interests of a political party. But when you are silenced and living in ignorance, only then will you know what you have lost. And you won't get it back with another armed struggle. People were given the promise of democracy in a constitution. The constitution did not in itself bring about democracy. It enabled South Africans to take charge of their own future. But people like you, Ngubane, are AFRAID OF FREEDOM. You prefer the ignorance of the past. It's what you knew. So be it. Live in ignorance. The ANC also hates the constitution. Ramatlodi said as much a few weeks ago, when he said the ANC "gave away" too much power to the people. Now they want to take it back. It's YOUR DEMOCRATIC POWER you want to give back. The press has no freedoms that do not already belong to the people. An attack of freedom of speech is an attack on EVERYBODY'S FREEDOM. People who want to surrender their speech rights to a political party obviously don't deserve freedom. Never mind, they have no idea what it is. They won't miss it. Poor slaves with a poor servant's mentality.

  • Gramsci - 2011-09-29 00:16

    Why does SA need a secrecy bill in the interests of "state security"? Who are our enemies? SA is probably one of the safest countries in the world. The answer: The PEOPLE are the enemy; after the ANC made them the "enemy". This bill serves Zuma's interests. What happens after he doesn't win a second term? He becomes vulnerable to landing up in court again. Basically, the ANC doesn't trust the people (except those too illiterate and ignorant). Look, even the ANC MPs object to this Bill. So they too must have become the ANC's enemy. I predict that the ANC will bulldoze this Bill into law. I also predict it will bring about the eventual downfall of the ANC when people realise (eventually, when it is too late) that their democracy is worth squat to them; and it is ILLEGAL to KNOW and TALK about the corruption and THEFT that already goes on in government!

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