Sanef to meet Vavi over info bill

2011-11-30 08:55

Johannesburg - The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) is scheduled to meet Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in Johannesburg on Wednesday to discuss the protection of state information bill.

Vavi said last Thursday that Cosatu would go to the Constitutional Court should attempts to amend the bill fail.

He said Cosatu would appeal to President Jacob Zuma not to sign the bill.

"We hope we can find one another in that the necessary amendments are effected in the process of the bill going to the National Council of Provinces."

The ANC majority drove the contentious bill through the National Assembly a week ago, despite vehement protests in and outside Parliament.

The so-called secrecy bill was adopted with 229 to 107 votes, and two abstentions, by the 400-member chamber.

There were 34 ANC MPs absent from the National Assembly during the vote.

Public interest defence

The ANC said it was convinced that the bill would play a constructive role in South Africa's constitutional democracy.

However, Vavi said there was a need to introduce a public interest defence.

Before the vote last week, a group of editors and Sanef made an 11th hour plea to ANC MPs to reject the bill.

In a statement, run on the front pages of some publications like The Times and Beeld, the editors said: "Mark this day. Depending on the actions of the 400 MPs in the National Assembly at 2pm, it will end as a day of triumph or of shame for our adolescent democracy.

"Every MP who presses the green button to vote 'yes' for the protection of state information bill will at that moment take personal responsibility for the first piece of legislation since the end of apartheid that dismantles an aspect of our democracy - a betrayal that will haunt them forever."

The editors said the bill came amid escalating attacks by the ANC on reporters, newspapers and the freedom of the press.

- SAPA

Read more on:    cosatu  |  sanef  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  media  |  politics  |  info bill
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