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
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

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

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

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers 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

Your sense of duty is emphasized and you may put your heart and soul into helping, serving and being there for the community in 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.