Odac supports redraft of ‘irrational and unconstitutional’ Info Bill

2013-09-12 17:50

The Open Democracy Advice Centre (Odac) says it supports President Jacob Zuma’s conclusion that the Protection of State Information Bill still does not pass constitutional muster.

“President Zuma has confirmed what scores of nongovernment organisations, such as Odac and the Right to Know Campaign, universities, community groups, legal experts and the public at large have been saying since 2008, that this legislation is ‘irrational and unconstitutional’”, said Mukelani Dimba, Odac’s executive director, today.

The President sent the much-contested and so-called secrecy bill back to Parliament today.

Zuma announced his decision during a meeting with the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association.

He said that the bill could not be passed on constitutional grounds and therefore had to be sent back to the National Assembly for consideration.

He also added that some sections of the bill, particularly sections 42 and 45, were unconstitutional and irrational.

“I have referred the bill to the National Assembly for reconsideration insofar as sections of the bill, in particular sections 42 and 45, lack meaning and coherence, consequently are irrational and accordingly are unconstitutional,” Zuma said.

But Odac believes that the unconstitutionality and inappropriateness of the bill extends beyond sections 42 and 45, and instead goes to the underlying rationality and foundation of the Bill itself.

The Protection of State Information Bill was passed in April in the National Assembly by an overwhelming majority with 189 votes in favour, 74 against and one abstention.

The decision to send the bill back to Parliament means that a new process will have to be initiated to remedy the flaws in the provisions of the bill.

“Parliament has been given a rare chance to redeem itself in the processing of this troublesome law. Previously, Parliament was derelict in its duty to process the draft law within the prescripts of the Constitution and allowed state security mandarins to dictate to Parliament the scope and nature of the provisions of the bill for their own undisclosed intentions,” said Dimba.

- City Press

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.