Secrecy bill hearings: ‘Chair represents ANC’

2012-02-14 14:44

The Protection of State Information Bill public hearing in Sharpeville showed that NCOP chief whip Nosipho Ntwanambi, who was the chairperson, was biased, the African People’s Convention (APC) claims.

According to APC spokesperson Patra Sindane, who is also a ward councillor at the Emfuleni local municipality which includes the township, Ntwanambi was representing the ruling party.

Ntwanambi is a member of the ANC national executive committee, which is the party’s highest decision-making body between national conferences.

“Those who sound to be opposing the bill were disrupted while they are still on the platform,” Sindane said.

However, throughout the hearing Ntwanambi said she was representing Parliament and not the ruling party.

Sindane said Ntwanambi seemed to favour those who were in support of the bill.

Many of the more than two dozens participants allowed to address the public hearing who tried to link the bill to issues of media freedom, corruption and other important issues, were cut short by chairperson, according to Sindane.

Ntwanambi demanded speakers not to link the secrecy bill to service delivery, community problems and media censorship.

“If people are just invited to rubber stamp the bill then the APC has a serious problem,” Sindane said.

Ntwanambi defended herself, saying the ad hoc committee on the bill noted their input but warned that not everything would be in the final act, should the bill be passed.

Many other participants supported the bill but complained that imprisonment terms were lengthy for the public compared with government officials.

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