News24

Sanef threatens action over info bill

2011-11-17 22:03

Johannesburg - The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has again threatened legal action if a public interest defence clause is left out of the protection of information bill.

Sanef said on Thursday it was concerned over State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele's refusal to allow such a defence in the bill.

"Such a clause would enable a journalist, whistle-blower, or citizen who disclosed classified information, if charged, to enter a defence plea of publication in the public interest," Sanef said in a statement.

Last week, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe voiced appreciation for Sanef's view that it would be for the courts in every case to decide whether the public interest defence held.

He suggested this created the basis for a "meeting point" on the issue, sparking hopes that such an amendment could be considered for the bill, Sanef said.

Despite this, Cwele told the National Assembly on Wednesday that the ANC could not support such a defence.

"He stated that no other country had such a clause in similar legislation, quietly ignoring the fact that the United States and other countries have other mechanisms in their legislation to provide the protection sought."

Sanef also took strong exception to Cwele's assertions that "foreign spies" were paying civil society groups to oppose the bill.

"Sanef is one of the groups that oppose the bill and rejects the minister's claims as insulting and libellous."

Sanef noted Cwele's admission that following sustained pressure by critics, many amendments had been made to the bill.

These improvements had been based on well-thought out arguments and reasons.

"Sanef not only rejects Cwele's wild allegations but calls on him to provide the proof to back them."

If Cwele's latest obdurate stand prevailed and the bill was passed without the safeguard, Sanef and other critics would have no alternative but to press for the legislation being referred to the Constitutional Court for it to rule on its constitutionality.

"The alternative is that important information will be withheld from the public," Sanef said.

Comments
  • Win - 2011-11-17 22:18

    Politics equals corruption. There is no other reason to go into politics but to enrich yourself, and then try and whitewash or hide it via clever legislation. Let's fight it to the hilt. We don't need or want these bloodsuckers to rule our lives. I can only hope that the Concourt can also see this reality and will act against it vigorously.

      Vusi - 2011-11-17 22:26

      @Win. Yes absolutely. WE DON'T NEED THIS BILL. This Bill is unconstitutional. Full stop. Who have they been having tea and cookies with getting advice from? Uncle Rob next door? They should stop conniving together these old men and think about the terrible legacy they are leaving behind for us youth to sort out when they have departed one day. They will be dead and we will have to fix all of this rubbish they believe in!

      frank.hartry - 2011-11-18 08:08

      I fully agree. The problem in South Africa is that we have an undemocratic system of elections. Most of us do not even know the name of our local member of parliment and therefore cannot raise objections. We have been conned into accepting a ridiculous system in which the politicians at all levels of government are nominated in a 'jobs for pals' frenzy and do no individual campaigning for their lucrative positions. Zuma was elected to be the ANC president and therefore the state president by a mere 2300 ANC delegates and 32 million votes had no say. The parasite politicians of South Africa are never going to be accountable to the people of South Africa because we do not directly vote for them. We cannot vote then in and cannot vote them out. Even if they are a bunch of thieves. Which many of them are.

      John - 2011-11-18 23:43

      For a change Kasrils sides with South Africa against the ANC. It was Kasrils which arrived in SA as a KGB agent and told the ANC that they could show how to do a revolution, having done others elsewhere. Mandela and his clowns fall for Kasrils armed struggle, push Albert Sisulu aside, and learn and bable communist propaganda. Kasrils owes South Africa the truth: communist central control economies have failed in USSR, China, India, Cuba, and everywhere else. Just because it is called in SA the National Democratic Revolution it does not mean that it is any different, and it will fail again. South Africa does not have any ace in the sleeve that will enable SA to triumph where all the others have failed, from Stalin to Mugabe. Having introduced the evil communist fables to SA, Kasrils owes to the PEOPLE to repent, apologise, and expose their worldwide failure.

  • Johana - 2011-11-17 22:24

    I guess they will write a letter.

      Heinrich - 2011-11-17 22:28

      dliva daleta! dsoona dbeta !

  • Cracker - 2011-11-17 22:35

    If the leaders I voted for tell me that they know certain things that I am not allowed to know then I know they trust only each other - or do the? - and that I am left out of what they do with my support. The ANC is busy destroying confidence in their credibility. They are not listening. They must not complain when a particular political factions get their hands on the security levers. Who knows who it might be and the idendities of the new stashed away martyrs may be? This is serious. Only the ANC seems oblivious of what is taking place. ANC members must wake up. You are enslaving yourselves and you don't even know who the eventual big bosses will be. Secrecy has cost this country a lot of grief. Who cares then? Let's try the same recipe again. We just love grief.

      Vusi - 2011-11-17 23:01

      Amen Brother. Amen!

  • mnbain - 2011-11-17 22:48

    I want examples of information that became public that they would seek to hide, and why that is justified. Lets not deal with the hypothetical, lets talk about the real issues with real examples to explain the motivation for this bill.

      Heinrich - 2011-11-17 22:56

      Snap !!

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-17 22:49

    Funny how we all just get strung along. Did anybody bother to ask the ANC to prove to us that this Bill is necessary? What have we lost to date as a result of not having this legislation? What was compromised? What was the role of the media in this? If there really has to be classified information, the affected ministry should apply for classification from a panel of (say 4) judges, who are appointed one by the ruling party and three by opposition parties. Classification should be done according to a rigid set of predetermined criteria involving only matters directly related to state security. No information relating to any persona or Party should be considered. The default situation is : All information belongs to the people of S.A. and should be made public. In fact, the media should be present in all government meetings and discussions.

      Vusi - 2011-11-17 23:09

      Heinrich we better get you a seat in Parliament. You have far better plans than the conniving men we have there now!

      Heinrich - 2011-11-17 23:19

      Thanks, Vusi, but I'll have to fake my naps and I'm not that good at missing meetings.

  • Kopano - 2011-11-17 23:22

    "A government can not pass a law and then after deem it in the interest of a nation, if they do not concider all reasonable demands by it's people. Those in power and media should realize that the power of government is not the ANC, the power of government is what the people say it is."

      Vusi - 2011-11-17 23:26

      I am elated tonight! At last we are standing up against this slow slide into another Zimbabwe! Salute you Brother!

  • johnkk - 2011-11-17 23:49

    It raises the question, as to why the latest judge president was appointed in such a shallow manner. Currently, the media (at times to dramatised) is the only way that the SA citizen is able to stay informed of what government is doing. It concerns me that Mr Kasrils is opposed to the bill, after all he is a man that is very familiar with government secrets. Why are a certain sector of the ANC adamant on forcing this bill through parliament without proper public opinion ? We have a problem here, somebody wants to rule with fear and no repercussion. Unfortunately the comments of cwele (Is his wife not in jail????) and the likes, are reflecting a government that are trying to use fear to ignite the dry grass of racism. If this bill is passed/forced, I am afraid to say that the legacy that Madiba intended will have been raped and left to die. It will merely have been a moment in history, and NOT the start of a rainbow nation drenched with FREEDOM....... Sad, so sad. That a nation with so much potential will seize to exist because of GREED !

      Vusi - 2011-11-18 00:19

      Greed and a motive so evil we will all perish, like Zimbabwe. Zuma said they will rule till Christ comes again...didn't he? Scary!

  • Ramotlhantsweng - 2011-11-18 05:21

    Wow! I am truly encouraged by the level of maturity that prevailed in your comments. For the first time in many months there are no racial runts. It is about time we all stand together and create a legacy of unity for our children. My problem is that, in a very competitive global environment a sovereign state must take all initiatives to be ahead of its competitors. I believe that despite global cooperation, that is why many states retain and maitain the use of both civilian, business and military intelligence. This inadvertently means certain information must remain classiefied until such plans come to fruition. This information can be anything from military industry developments/deployments, business initiatives, etc. It is obvious that once this information is made public, the state will then lose the initiative and its plans might be neutralised. But I know that this is not what the ANC is trying to do. Instead, they want to stifle press freedom and access to information by the public. You see this is my dilemma, how do you balance national interest with access to information/press freedom.

  • njaycksen - 2011-11-18 08:26

    hee ndaa we as the govt need sum form of privacy, we want to be rich like white ppl

  • cobus.burgers - 2011-11-19 08:03

    If this bill is passed we as South Africans must just respond with massive civil disobedience towards this bill as if it does not exist. It will be impossible to charge every citizen. Just as the laws of Apartheid was defied we must stand together so even if they manage to pass this law it will be ignored by civil society. This bill is against the citizens of South Africa and every person should fight to prevent this from ever becoming law. If it then becomes law we need to demonstrate to the government that even if it is law we will make sure they cannot apply the law as we as citizens will regard it as an invalid law.

      George - 2011-11-21 11:55

      WELL SAID - MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS WHAT IS CALLED FOR SHOULD THEY RAM THIS ONE SIDED, STALINIST PIECE OF LEGISLATION THROUGH. SOUTH AFRICANS ACROSS THE BOARD NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS AS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE IN THIS COUNTRY.

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