ANC's info bill concessions welcomed

2012-08-29 14:32

Cape Town - Concessions on the contested protection of state information bill announced by the ANC on Wednesday have been welcomed by activists and the opposition, though both camps called for further changes still.

When the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee dealing with the bill resumed its deliberations on Wednesday, the ruling party agreed to delete three bitterly contested provisions from the draft law.

ANC MP Sam Mozisiwe confirmed his party stood by the removal of a line that would have sought to make the bill trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act - a sub-clause widely branded unconstitutional.

Secondly, the ANC agreed to strike clause 49 from the bill. This section sought to ban the release of information relating to any state security matter.

Critics, including Cosatu, warned it raised the spectre of returning South Africa to a security state by drawing a veil of secrecy around the workings of the intelligence community.

Thirdly, the ruling party agreed to opposition calls to remove a provision that would have given municipalities the power to classify information.

'A major step forward'

The proposed amendments were welcomed by activists and the opposition, though both camps called for further changes still.

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees said the removal of clause 49 was "a very positive and major step forward".

The announced changes were agreed in closed-door talks between a small group of committee members. Chairperson Raseriti Tau said this private process would continue this week in search of full consensus on the bill.

Wednesday's meeting was the first full committee sitting since August 7, when the department of state security reiterated its hawkish stance on the bill, but conceded that the final decision was up to legislators.

Tau told reporters a September 30 deadline for MPs to report on the bill to the NCOP was not cast in stone.

But he said he hoped Parliament would sign off on the legislation, which has been in the pipeline for two years marked by sustained public protest, before Christmas.

"I hope that if by then I get a call on how far we are with the bill, I can say the question is not how far are we, but how far is the president."

  • Eterni80 - 2012-08-29 14:37

    the same way a proctological exam is welcomed I'm sure.

      jackie.stone.501 - 2012-08-29 14:38

      Don't you have some work to do?

      theo.konings.9 - 2012-08-29 15:19

      @jackie.stone.Don't you have brain surgery scheduled?

      rbphiri - 2012-08-29 15:41

      I see the wood work classes are out...and guess which idiot has time on their carpenter hands to surf the net and show all of humanity that stupidity has no bounds.

      theo.konings.9 - 2012-08-29 15:45


  • Arm_Witmens - 2012-08-29 14:41

    I am still wondering what they refuse to change. A nice summary of what the bill still entail will be nice. NOTHING is ever give and take with the anc.Its TAKE and to hell with the rest. They make these concessions only to shift the focus away from the stipulations they do not want us to see. Classic smoke and mirror tacktics

      Arm_Witmens - 2012-08-29 14:42


      rbphiri - 2012-08-29 15:44

      True, but sadly people still vote for them over and over again. I will rather stick my manhood in a bee hive than cast my vote for the ruling party.

  • travis.vermaak - 2012-08-29 15:06

    "The Protection of Corrupt ANC Officials act"

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-08-29 15:48

    These bliters would do anythying to cover all their corruption and inability to perform or deliver.We give into this bill now we set a precedent for the CORRUPT to ply their trade. NO to the info bill.The people have a democratic right to know how the politicians perform , irrespective of affiliation, after all we employed them to office and pay their salaries to govern not to plunder the fiscus with all their shady deals.This bill will prevent the people from knowing about shady deals and the unethical behaviour practised by these politicians.

  • klaas.waarzegger.7 - 2012-08-29 16:21

    This is because of their unionist background. They always put their bid in for much higher than they are prepared to settle for. For Pete's sake this is not wage negotiations. You are running a democracy now!

  • dhavandran.palavar - 2012-08-29 16:31

    why the bill in the first place? who's afraid that they need this bill?

  • garren.dare - 2012-08-30 19:26

    Ditch the bill outright, it's not within the framework of our constitution. It's reminiscent of apartheids darkest days. There is already enough protection in place. Sure, do something about the paparazzi(?) and 'artists' who paint the country's president (whoever he may be) with exposed genitals. But this bill is to protect corrupt politicos from detection

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