Controversial secrecy bill passed

2013-04-25 16:59

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

Johannesburg - Parliament voted on Thursday in favour of a fiercely contested secrecy bill which critics say will muzzle the media and provide cover for government corruption.

The protection of state information bill, which will replace apartheid-era legislation on classified information and espionage, passed with 189 votes in favour to 74 against, with one abstention.

The minister of state security, Siyabonga Cwele, told Parliament the bill would "strengthen democracy while balancing transparency and protecting our national security and national interests".

"There is no one who can hide corruption through this act," he said, adding that the revised bill provided whistleblowers even more protection.

Under the bill, espionage-related cases carry a punishment of up to 25 years in jail, and holding or disclosing classified material carries a maximum of five years' imprisonment.

The bill has met fierce opposition from the media, rights groups and the opposition, which fear it will be used to persecute whistleblowers and stifle press freedom in country where the media regularly uncover government corruption and wasteful spending.

In recent years journalists have used leaked documents to level accusations of high-level corruption against leading members of the ruling African National Congress.

They included President Jacob Zuma, who was implicated and appeared in court on charges relating to the arms deal. The charges were dropped just months before he became head of state.

Media reporting has also led to allegations that Zuma spent millions of rands to renovate his private home.

Since first mooted in 2008, the bill has undergone several amendments, but was ultimately pushed through by the ANC's overwhelming parliamentary majority.

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko slammed the bill as a "unconstitutional" and a threat to "democracy's foundational values of freedom and openness".

"Media cannot function when important information is suppressed. Bad governance thrives under the cloak of darkness. Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear," she said.

The DA said it would lobby other opposition parties to challenge the bill in the Constitutional Court.

The bill is now expected to be signed into law by Zuma.

Read more on:    anc  |  siyabonga cwele  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  media  |  info bill  |  corruption  |  politics
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Bail for rhino theft accused

2014-08-23 09:00
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
372 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

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!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where the more positive and optimistic you are the more opportunities you seem to attract....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.