ANC crowing cut short - ANC ordered to reflect opposition’s resistance to secrecy bill in report

2013-10-18 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The ANC’s triumphant refusal to accede to the opposition’s resistance to the secrecy bill has backfired badly.

The parliamentary programme committee yesterday rejected the report of the ad hoc committee’s discussions of the Protection of State Information Bill because it had failed to reflect the opposition’s opinions in the report.

Cope MP Juli Kilian said the committee’s handling of the draft legislation contravened rule 251 (3) (e) of the National Assembly.

“The portfolio committee of Parliament should reflect all opinions and viewpoints about legislation in its official report. The committee did not bother to consider this rule in its official report about its functions,” said Kilian.

The Witness last week reported how the ANC used its majority on the committee to ignore the opposition while pushing the bill through.

During the committee meetings, ANC MPs refused point blank to discuss any substantial proposals by the opposition.

IFP MP Dr Mario Ambrosini was laughed at and voted against by an ANC bloc when he insisted that a minority report be accepted, as allowed for by the rules.

The ANC majority even ignored the call by ANC MP Cecil Burgess, chairperson of the ad hoc committee, that the opposition’s objections be recorded in the report.

“Why must we compromise? We have won. They [the opposition] do not have the muscle. That is how democracy works,” said ANC MP Jerome Maake.

Kilian referred to the rules yesterday during the weekly parliamentary programme committee meeting and was strongly supported by Sandy Kalyan, deputy chief whip of the DA.

Kilian said according to the rules, the opinions of opposition parties on legislation must form an official part of the records of Parliament.

Despite opposition by ANC chief whip Stone Sizani, Speaker Max Sisulu ruled in Kilian’s favour.

The bill will now be referred back to the ad hoc committee, which will have to correctly reflect the opposition’s resistance to the legislation.

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