PMB drive to oppose secrecy bill

2012-02-13 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG residents have been urged to add their signatures to a joint submission to protest against the Protection of State Information Bill that will be forwarded to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The submission, which was written jointly by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness and the Chamber of Business, is available at and

Those who want their signatures to be attached should send their name, organisation (if applicable) and e-mail address to

The deadline is 10 am on Wednesday.

Pacsa’s Yvonne Spain said her organisation hoped the NCOP would seriously consider the submission and ensure the bill was not voted into law without substantial changes.

This would “bring it in line with the spirit and letter of the Constitution and not allow a culture of secrecy to become the order of the day”.

Spain said laws for the protection of state secrets needed to be kept to a minimum.

“The new legislation needs to comply with the values of the Constitution,” she said.

“We wish to advocate for an open society where there is credible oversight of the intelligence community, and where suitable checks and balances are in place.”

Her comments followed a meeting last month at which ANC MPs Yunus Carrim MP and John Jeffrey addressed concerned citizens about the controversial bill.

Spain said Pacsa was not convinced that the perceived threats to national security, which were presented as reasons for drafting the bill, were real.

The NCOP is to hold three public hearings on the bill in KwaZulu-Natal one Thursday. Hearings have been scheduled for Umlazi and in the Ugu and Zululand district municipalities in Harding and Vryheid.

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