‘Glaring omissions’ on info bill

2012-02-11 15:44

The National Council of Provinces’ ad hoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill was established late last year in the wake of controversy around the proposed legislation.

The committee is headed by ANC member Raseriti Tau, who is the house chairperson responsible for committees and oversight in the council.

Beginning late last month, the ad hoc committee has travelled to cities in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape and, this week, the Free State. It usually splits into smaller groups in order to cover diverse parts of a province.

Civil rights groups and the DA have accused the ruling party-loaded commission of not making enough information about the bill available, deliberately excluding certain contentious clauses from public discussion and even busing supporters in to fill the halls.

The committee, which has 15 members, has vehemently denied these allegations.

Sapa reported after the Western Cape hearings at the end of last month that the Right2Know campaign had accused the ANC of misrepresenting the bill at that province’s public hearings.

“It is deceptive because the way the bill is introduced contains glaring omissions on its substance,” Murray Hunter, the national co-ordinator of the campaign, told Sapa.

However, he conceded that people attending the hearings should inform themselves about the bill.

The next round of public hearings is scheduled for Gauteng on Tuesday, then KwaZulu-Natal.

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