Officials resist info bill concessions

2012-06-06 21:35

Cape Town - The department of state security on Wednesday dug in its heels on criticism of the protection of state information bill and ignored amendments proposed by the ruling party.

The acting director general of state security, Dennis Dlomo, rejected calls to rewrite section 1 (4) of the bill, to limit the power of the ministry to delegate classification powers, reduce penalties and limit the heavy onus placed on the accused in the draft law.

Dlomo also stood firm on pleas, made again during public hearings on the bill in March, to include a public interest defence in the draft act to shield whistle-blowers and journalists who publish classified documents to reveal state wrongdoing.

"They want a post-disclosure test of public interest. We want a pre-disclosure test," Dlomo told the ad hoc committee of the National Council of Provinces processing the bill.

"The last point on this is really simple. What if a whistle-blower gives away top secret, legitimately classified information?"

The briefing showed a widening gap between lawmakers and the powerful ministry, which is in the process of overhauling the state security machinery, and has always maintained that such a defence would amount to tearing up the legislation before it was passed.

At the same meeting the ANC majority on the committee finally tabled in writing a set of amendments first mooted last month, and cautiously welcomed by critics of the bill.

Dlomo said the department would respond to the proposals in detail later, but would not stray from the spirit of its presentation on Wednesday.

"We don't expect you to agree with us necessarily," he said.

"We will respond line by line, but informed by the position we have taken."

  • Carl - 2012-06-06 21:55

    No comment.....

      brett.macdonald1 - 2012-06-06 22:16

      They say: "The briefing showed a widening gap between lawmakers and the powerful ministry, which is in the process of overhauling the state security machinery, and has always maintained that such a defence would amount to tearing up the legislation before it was passed." Well, don't pass it then.

      oscar.vanriel - 2012-06-06 22:52

      This is just eye blinding tricks played by the ANC in the good old fashion good cop bad cop style. Government is the ANC and the ANC is the government, so for the ANC to pretend that the officials are resisting ANC amendments is pure and utter nonsense. The bill will be passed unchanged because that is the way the ANC wants it to hide their incompetence and corruption.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-06 21:56


  • spartanx93 - 2012-06-06 22:00

    Dark days ahead......

  • Wessel - 2012-06-06 22:02

    Ag hoe lekker voel ek nou hier kom die ou Suid Afrike terug, julle ongeduldige lot...wonder of mense weer gaan "verdwyn" en huise in die dood van die nag binnegedring gaan word en uigesproke jong mense weer vir maande aangehou gaan word sonder om aangekla te 'section 29 of the internal security act' nog van toepassing...of kom daar n NUWE een uit vir die reenboog nasie?!!!!

  • Pat - 2012-06-06 22:08

    And so ghe corrupt gravytrain storms ahead..julle gaan julle gatte sien very very soon

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-06 22:09

    The communist agenda expands.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-06-06 22:18

    Amazing! They can create all these "what if" situations for *this* Bill, but not one had a single "what if" for the recently, hastily amended Sexual Offences Bill when it was originally passed. Nor did they comprehend the "what if" when back in 1996, when Eskom told them we need to build power stations and they said NO. *We* are paying 2012 prices for things that should have been built in 1996. Ditto for all the other "what ifs" ignored over the last 18 years that we are now all suffering for - Education, Health, Safety and ahem Security, Water, Food, Housing, Jobs. This is is what happens when you believe in "vote now and solve the problems later".

      Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-06 22:27

      True and so sad.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-06-06 22:32

    This makes a lot of sense. We have been kept safe for all these years because we did not know that there were threats to our national security from quarters we didn't know about. Even if we did know, we wouldn't have known what to do because we knew we din't know anything that was worth knowing. The people who knew we knew we didn't know, knew we soon would know that there are people who would try to find out what we already knew we know or thought we didn't know. So now we know that the department of state security wants to make us think they know who wants to know more about what we as South Africans are not supposed to know. We are therefore not allowed to know that the department does not know we know they don't know anything. I just don't know... (innocent) abiding sit a sin.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-06-06 22:41

      F'n BEST comment I've ever read.

      Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-06 22:54

      Brilliant! Careful though you might be called a racist as the stupid won't understand.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-06-06 23:14

      Stew - damn man, that comment just makes you sound racist. and you assume all black people are racist. Bad move dude.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-06-06 22:34

    "What if a whistle-blower gives away top secret, legitimately classified information?" Exactly - I suspect that comment you quoted is aimed at railroading anyone who can't think further than the idea it implies. The fact is, if someone publicizes a national secret that endangers lives or gives away trade secrets then the law will fall upon them as it would on any criminal. Legitimate whistle blowing that exposes corruption should be acceptable and in fact, demanded. They are desperately trying to confuse the two. There is NO CONFUSION with the current act. There very fact that they want to introduce this is testament to the fact that corruption is the order of the day, and those who wish to amend it are already guilty - scared, frightened - and wish to find ways to exercise their power to hide it.

  • Erna - 2012-06-06 22:45

    What is dangerous is that people like these control what we may or may not know.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-06-06 23:17

      That goes for any country - and any politician. This is'nt about black and white - it's about politicians ruling us like cattle, like cows, milking us. People need to wake up. The ANC will do business with the French, yes? The French were colonial as well. They will do business with any country. It's about business. As long as they can keep us slaves working, paying taxes, and limit our freedom and our rights they can keep doing business. SIMPLE. Nothing to do with race. Only idiots think it's about race.

  • robinne1 - 2012-06-07 00:55

    It should be renamed "the Protection of State Corruption Bill" as that is why they are so determined to get it through!

  • Phelamanga - 2012-06-07 06:31

    The big question is: Does this bill serve the interests of the people at large, or does it protect the interests of a minority? With all the political scandals taking place at the moment, it is obvious that the bill has been designed in such a way that it protects the interests of a small, corrupt and decadent minority ANC elite. It's all part of the NDR to ensure that the majority of people remain ignorant and oppressed while the small minority are protected and their wrong-doings are hidden from the public eye. The onus on keeping legitimately classified information secret lies with the statutory body, and there should be internal mechanisms to prevent this information from getting out, but to foist a blanket ban that can cover anything on the majority of the population, and which in later years can be abused to intimidate and gather information on individuals, like the STASI in East Germany, or the KGB in the Soviet Union did in the communist era, is an indication that the proponents of this bill want to install a police state in which the rights of the individual are taken away in favour of a state which dictates to its people. In short, it is a betrayal of the history of the ANC, and it is disrespectful of the people who drew up the Constitution of South Africa. The voice of the people has been hijacked by a few individuals who have their own interests at heart.

  • lwazi.sithole.9 - 2012-06-07 08:16

    the only reason they think they can bulldose us; is because other than e-tolls; South Africans hardly stand and band together.. but this is a joke about- how do you take information about them to them so they may decide if you can show their crimes

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-06-07 08:29

    vote DA, these thugs will destroy this country

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-06-07 08:58

    "The last point on this is really simple. What if a whistle-blower gives away top secret, legitimately classified information?" Last time I checked SA is a peacful country, surrounded by peaceful neighbours. the only reason it would need to have secrets would be in there is an aggressive agenda towards the neighbouring countries, or towards the citizens of SA.

  • danyalkolbe - 2012-06-07 09:52

    The ANC came into power because the rest of the world turned its back on it's policies and refused to invest in its Immoral,undemocratic Government.Fiddling with the freedom of information and meddling with the Constitution will achieve the same effect. Please get behind Julius Malema-it doesnot matter what you perceive him to be-He is the only one on the horizon at the moment to deprive the Anc of at least a further 5% of the vote in the next general election. It would also be very welcome if someone out there could inform the general public as to the size of the stake the ANC's profit making companies have in Sanral.Come on journalists-the info bill is not law yet.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-06-07 12:14

    To be quite honest, nothing is a secret anymore, so therefor there cannot be whistle-blowers, as everything is made public by the white pages as well as the ancyl. SA will always try to refrain and stay "neutral" in a "war" situation, while having it's already internal/"civil" "war" waging on in each and every day cases, through their lack of leadership, bad planning and taking advise and money from the wrong people. The heads of departments and of states will always try and hide most of there secrets, while in actual fact, they themselves are displaying "the secrets". So they in themselves are whistle-blowers. They have perfected the art of copying others, but not perfected the art of hiding their true nature and colours and as for state secrecy - spying all over the whole world still takes place today, via satelites, etc, etc so excactly what are they trying to protect? There's only so many places you can hide away for so long. Just another way to waste more time and money on irrelavant matters.

  • Antipoaching - 2012-06-07 12:18

    As bad as the press restrictions under Apartheid... actually worse because we now have a Constitutional Democracy and a Bill of Rights.... This Bill is just plain BAD LAW

  • Johnathon - 2012-06-07 13:24

    We have never needed a secrecy bill for the last 20 years, so what has suddenly changed. Once Zuma became President, corruption has become endemic and spiralled out of control. It has the sole and only purpose of hiding corruption, and avoid the annoying embarrassment of the frequent nailing of so many top politicians during their road to self enrichment. The cornerstone of any Democracy is the Freedom of the Press. This has been removed in every Dictatorship in Africa to protect the guilty. The arrogance of the Government in wanting to steam role this bill through against all public opposition is intolerable. Who the hell does the ANC think it is. They must serve the people, not the people serve these great gods who descended in their fiery chariots from above. Every SA must fight this bill with all their might, and just show the Government that in any Democracy, the people rule ultimately. Let the ANC get away with this, and we have started the slide into darkness. Our Constitution goes against the Bill, and the ANC must realise the Constitution is far bigger than their corrupt, self serving ambitions.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-06-07 21:19

    They need this bill to hide all the wrong doing by Zoomer and his corrupt regime!! AND who the f*ck do the officials think they are ?? The tail wagging the dog as usual!!

  • danyalkolbe - 2012-06-08 20:29

    The one thing that that always made Thabo Mbeki fly into an absolute rage was any reference to South Africa following in the footsteps of the countries to the north of us.Atthe time I wanted to passionately believe that that he would prove the doomsayers and the rest of the world wrong. Needless to say I was doomed to disappointment. Given his still considerable stature in this continent's policies and politics,is it not time for him to stand up and be counted? The "info bill,e-tolling.proposed constitutional changes,corruption,maladministration,non-service delivery" are among items that must be eradicated from the minds of the party faithful. When I die one of these days,Iwant to believe there that there is a future for our children in SOUTH AFRICA and not overseas.

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