ANC backtracks on info bill after outcry

2011-09-19 16:33

Cape Town - The ANC on Monday backtracked on the the controversial information bill after a widespread outcry that it would muzzle investigations into government wrongdoing.

"There are still interested parties who need further hearing, as well as other parties who have made late submissions," ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga told journalists.

"The ANC caucus has therefore decided not to table the bill tomorrow [Tuesday] to allow parliament to engage further."

The backtrack came on the eve of a parliamentary debate where the ANC was expected to use its majority to vote to turn the protection of information bill into law.

Activists and media groups feared the legislation would stifle whistleblowers and investigative journalists who possessed or disclosed classified material with jail terms of up to 25 years.

Mounting public opposition saw a march in Cape Town and night vigils planned with more than 55 000 signatures and more than 35 000 e-mails sent to parliament's chief whip's office in recent days.

  • supporter - 2011-09-19 16:38


      iranianprince - 2011-09-19 18:47

      Glad to see that there are still sane intelegent people in the ANC NEC. They are the ones hold a fragile democracy together. Well done right2know and all those who opposed it

  • malemaforever - 2011-09-19 16:38


      Thor - 2011-09-19 16:53

      In your view they are due reward for not doing the wrong thing. Sad but this is probably where we are now. We are no longer happy when good things happen in stead we celebrate our government not doing bad things.

      Ozymandios - 2011-09-19 18:05

      ANC and ANCYL have been drinkling JW Blue Label for far too long not just Bells. They have done nothing brilliant by withdrawing their bill supposed to be tabled tomorrow. They may just and its only a "just" relaise that they are not that dictatorship they firmly believe they are. But I fear their arrogance and obnoxiousness will still rule the day. Chickens are slowly coming home to roost. And I believe that there is a lot of scurrying around behind the scenes, because somewhere down the line the scales are going to balance; and these crooks that live in the ANC house are seeing the writing is on the wall. Too many know too much about shady shenanigans that have gone on in the past; and its now a game of panic in how to shut off the leaking dykes and they just don't have enough fingers to block up the leaks. Watch and wait, a lot more is connected in this matter to wee Julius and he knows a lot and if he is as cunning and sly (not smart becuase that he is not) as I think he is - and he may have just recorded all he knows that's now in a faraway vault and if he goes off to meet ol' Nick one day soon, who knows, soon all may be revealed. Now that's a problem for the master of Deceit and Corruption.

      Karoobloed - 2011-09-19 18:40

      Agree with Malemaforever (not so sure about his name though!). Kudos to the ANC for not just railroading this through with their substantial majority in parliament. Yes, they are probably apprehensive about a Con Court challenge, but at least they are showing flexibility. Democracy at work.

  • enragedcitizen - 2011-09-19 16:39

    the people have spoken!!! scrap the bill ANC!!

      Ranger_Bob - 2011-09-19 16:46

      Why on earth would they scrap something that would allow them to get away with raping and pilaging totally scott-free. Time they get ousted. The masses surely cannot be so stupid as not to see they are getting shafted by this lot

      UmlunguBaba - 2011-09-19 16:54

      Well done, Ranger_Blob, for directing the discussion southwards to the gutter. "DON'T GIVE ME ANY GOOD NEWS - I WANT TO SPIT VENOM!"

      Ranger_Bob - 2011-09-19 17:07

      actually Umlungubaba, thats essentially why these guys are in power, due to mass voting and people who have been swayed by very empty promises, and the net result is that we are looking down the barrel of a gross misuse of power by people who are actually our employees. The people put them there, the people pay their salaries, THEY WORK FOR US.

      MoaningMan - 2011-09-19 17:39

      Vox Populi - Vox Dei The voice of the people is the voice of God

      Edward - 2011-09-19 21:17

      @moaningman. yes, and the vote of the uninformed (and non contributers to tax) is being misused by the ANC.

  • Foom - 2011-09-19 16:40

    Great news but battle not yet won. Fight one, freedomlovers!

  • Gabiba - 2011-09-19 16:40


      Coquine - 2011-09-19 16:43


  • Lyndatjie - 2011-09-19 16:42

    This is a tactical withdrawal so that they can plug the legal loopholes currently investigated by the legal fraternity. They minute they are plugged - the bill will be tabled again!

  • Coquine - 2011-09-19 16:42

    Everyone must now give Right2Know all their support to ensure this doesn't get through. We have gained a bit of time, we need much more action now. PS: Thank you Ronnie Kasrils, your remarks hit where it hurts!

  • Freddie - 2011-09-19 16:47 Sign the petition now!! Keep the pressure up.

  • Bled_Dry - 2011-09-19 16:49

    A tiny light at the end of this tunnel then... Hopefully they are big enough to admit that they are wrong on this and not P all over the constitution!!!

  • Ranger_Bob - 2011-09-19 16:51

    Its time the ANC gets voted out. I hope that everyone who has ever voted for them can see what a mistake they made putting a corrupt, racist and morally bankrupt institution into power. Get them out, and STOP VOTING BY RACE and by loyalty to Mandela. Think about the parties and not the empty promises theey make, otherwise things are going to happen and no one will have any say in anything. Goodbye democratic South Africa and Hello Zim - its not just a statement its a warning from history.

  • Shistirrer - 2011-09-19 16:55

    This is a shrewd move by the ANC. Watch this space for a purge by the ANC of anti-Zuma bigshots before their next national conference. First they are busy getting rid of Juju, next the reopening of the arms scandal investigation. If the Info Bill had passed, certain individuals could have used it to hide information and save their own butts.

  • Lebo - 2011-09-19 16:59

    Tired of hearing about this, think I need a Bell's to get me through another article about the Info bill! *gulp gulp*

      Brainbow - 2011-09-19 17:19

      Bells and whistles!

  • markings - 2011-09-19 17:05

    So they are still looking for someone who is not in the inner circle of the ANC, or where they cannot twist the arms hard enough to agree, to support this bill.

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-09-19 17:12

    The truth will set us free! Don't hide the truth!

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-09-19 17:14

    The info bill was a stupid idea to start off with. It appears to be trying to protect people behind the arms deal.

      Ex-employer - 2011-09-19 17:32

      The ANC didn't think it was stupid. Then again stupid people don't know they stupid.

  • Mark Haupt - 2011-09-19 17:20

    It would be nice if parliament could engage their brains, never mind other parties, but I'm not hopeful. As far as "..interested parties who need further hearing..", since when did the ANC start listening to anybody? Dear ANC, do you know the meaning of "reactionary"?

  • beicime - 2011-09-19 17:21

    Hold the fireworks, it's not over yet. The writing of info bill is taking the shape of a well consulted legislation but the end result is known. It may be changed but it will protect the wrong doings.

  • Marc - 2011-09-19 17:39

    As organisations like Avaaz get stuck into this, the ANC realises that the world is beginning to sit up and take notice. And that makes them a bit more sensitive. Let's face it - they are reneging on their 1994 electoral promises.

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-09-19 17:39

    The people of this country deserve better than to have their freedom or their democratic rights trampled on. This Bill, if passed, will rival any censorship we had under Apartheid. What are they afraid of - getting caught doing something they shouldn't be?

      Edward - 2011-09-19 21:28

      they are tired of being caught now. imagine if noboddy can report on this. free for all!!!

  • thozi - 2011-09-19 17:47

    Maybe, just maybe, the ANC listened for a change. Having an overall majority does not mean one has to be arrogant. Some of us will only vote for a party that cares for its people.

      2WhiteStars - 2011-09-19 18:00

      There are still some sane, wise old owls within the ANC. Let's hope their voices are heard on this.

  • abg100 - 2011-09-19 17:49

    Another tactical move to keep the eyes of the world happy!

  • Big-D - 2011-09-19 17:57

    Never trust a snake. It's 2nd attempt to "bite" you is always worse that the 1st!!!

  • Bruce Wells - 2011-09-19 18:18

    Thank you Ronnie!

  • Hugh - 2011-09-19 18:58

    What spin and poopycock. The government has proven time and again that they will push any law, road toll or carbon tax through that is in their interest. There is another reason why it has been put on the back burner for a while.

  • whazai - 2011-09-19 20:01

    We all know that the media has a profound influence on popular opinion. In light of this I believe the best way for the media to protest the protection of information bill (that is predominantly championed by the ANC) is to go out of their way to tarnish the ANCs image. They can threaten to print a story on the front page of every newspaper, for an indefinite period of time, telling story after story of how the ANC has failed the people and not lived up to its promises. If every newspaper, every radio station and TV news station begins with an anti-ANC bulletin, I believe you would get their attention very quickly.

  • StoneAngel - 2011-09-19 20:08

    Should the this "Secrecy Bill" ever be voted in I would like every newspaper in the country post pictures with names of each and every Member of Parliament who votes this 'Secrecy' bill in with a note that these are the persons who have robbed, us ordinary people on South Africa, of the right to know and of the freedom of access to all information which we may want to know. The MPs that vote for the Bill must for the history books be vilified at every turn for their conduct in this robbery. This country should never allow these people or their friends and family forget what they have done to us. They must be hounded at every turn they must be made pariahs in their own country for their actions on this matter.

      Edward - 2011-09-19 21:25

      interesting. half of parlement has been foud guilty of defrauding us with the travelgate svandal. they have been foubd guilty. goverment has BOUGHT the debt with out money. the moral of the storey is; THEY ARE NOT USING THEIR OWN MONEY. they are using my white money, and have been for the past 17 years to enrich themselves. i am getting gatval of these ouks just taking and taking. now they want to introduce a wealth tax. with all his undisclosed properties malema must be smiling. sorry, forgot. it will only be the white oks paying up again. this country is fu2ked.

  • LaVie - 2011-09-20 08:11

    Viva Democracy!!! Power to the people. Now put this Bill on a shelve and forget about it. It was a bad idea in the first place.

  • joelle.niven - 2011-09-20 08:42

    Go to this link to join the protest against the info bill

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