DA info bill complaint 'absurd'

2012-04-04 20:31

Cape Town - The DA's complaint about the state security department's protection of state information bill advert is "absurd and ridiculous", ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said on Tuesday.

One of the problems that "have been lamented about, from time to time, by the majority of stakeholders involved in the bill's process has been the lack of or limited knowledge pertaining to the objectives and intentions of this draft legislation among the public", he said in a statement.

The African National Congress parliamentary caucus, albeit with limited resources, and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committee dealing with the bill had used their public consultation processes to "educate the people on the bill and get their views".

However, the state security department's intervention "in this public educational process should be welcomed".

As the sponsor of the bill, the department had a right to educate the public on its objectives and intentions through a variety of media platforms, Motshekga said.

Important intervention

"It is silly for the DA to regard this exercise as a violation of the principle of separation of powers. The department is merely educating South Africans on the facts around the bill, not influencing or meddling in the parliamentary process."

The department's communications initiative was an important intervention, particularly in the light of "one-sided reporting by certain sections of the media, due to their interest in the bill".

"We are confident that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will see the DA's complaint for what it is, a silly and opportunistic political game, and dismiss it," Motshekga said.

Earlier this week, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said her party was lodging a complaint with the ASA.

"The campaign... seeks to persuade the public that the purpose of the bill is to protect personal information, such as birth certificates and drivers' licences," she said.


However, the adverts - in print and on radio and TV - focused on "a narrow and largely irrelevant" aspect of the bill.

"[This]... is disingenuous, as no mention is made of the bill's range of controversial implications."

There was no reference to its serious implications for press freedom, or its potential repercussions for corruption whistleblowers.

Mazibuko said she would also write to National Assembly speaker, Max Sisulu, and NCOP chairperson, Mninwa Mahlangu, to raise concerns about the government launching a media offensive on a matter that was currently before Parliament.

The department's decision to "engage in this propaganda campaign" on a piece of legislation still being deliberated on, and that had yet to be signed into law, showed a clear disregard for the separation of powers, Mazibuko said.

The advertisements appeared to breach three key provisions of the ASA's advertising code dealing with honesty, fear and truthful representation.

  • Jason - 2012-04-04 20:56

    Anc attempting to fool the mindless masses. Fortunately the pool is shrinking.

  • Mark - 2012-04-04 20:58

    FICA and RICA were quite enough Mr. Motshekga. Even if the gvt's intentions had an honourable element to this iniquitous bill. What you are protesting about appears to be more about being caught out trying to hoodwink your own supporters, than protecting citizens' private information.

  • Elkita - 2012-04-04 21:09

    The ANC + their info bill is absurd.Forget your corruption for a while and feed the poor and the hungry.

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-04 21:13

    I don't think its absurd the ANC have got a lot to hide from the public

  • hoyingomane - 2012-04-04 21:13

    So the DA wants the whole bill on an advert?now that's really absurd.

      Sam - 2012-04-04 21:31

      What's absurd is the advert pretending to be about protecting us from identity theft. That's a straight out lie as we already have legislation in place that covers that. It is also disingenuous about the protection of whistleblowers as there is no public interest defense in the bill. Whistleblowers can face up to 15 years in jail. Additionally, the state security department has no ownership of the bill and may therefore not promote it.

  • Piet - 2012-04-04 21:14

    No more hands in the cookie jar!!! WE WANT THE WHOLE COOKIE FACTORY!!!!!!!

  • Jeffrey - 2012-04-04 21:15

    If anyone remembers Motshegka's rants on SAFM on Christianity and Africanism every Thursday morning, they will know that he is the ultimate absurdity.

  • Ngaka - 2012-04-04 21:41

    For the first time I actually agree with Tea Girl.Valid concerns you are raising my girl.I give it to you.Keep it up....We need these kind of opposition or contributions from the opposition parties.The sitting leadership of the ANC should be ashamed itself...they are an embarassment to ANC itself and masses of our people.I for one have long passed a vote of no confidence against it and I know I'm not the only one.

      Godfrey - 2012-04-04 22:08

      @Ngaka, referring to her as "Tea Girl" tells me you are a loyal ANC supporter and therefore party to this Info Bill, regardles of which faction you support. Same on you.

      Godfrey - 2012-04-04 22:09

      Should be: SHAME ON YOU

      grant.hide - 2012-04-04 22:37

      Just Wait for the those E-tolls, Everything will double in price in a short period of time. Then when you are hungry, Remember that The DA said no to all these silly ideas of economic freedom. The idea that they can free you of money will never work. Because then you can't live, because you can't buy food. ;)

      Dee - 2012-04-04 22:38

      Godfrey - no worse that many a Shower-Head etc type comedic nickname for Zuma.

      Ngaka - 2012-04-04 22:43

      @Godfrey...One doesn't have to be an ANC supporter to support or oppose the takes knowledge of the constitution and of the principles of a democratic regime.As for why I refered to her as "Tea Girl",let this be a topic for another day,but suggesting that this is indicative of my being an ANC supporter is misleading and very regrettable.

      Godfrey - 2012-04-04 22:56

      @Ngaka, If I assigned you to the incorrect party based on your "tea Girl" remark then I apologize.

      Ngaka - 2012-04-04 23:11


  • Graham - 2012-04-04 22:36

    I think the ANC is absurd!

      Polotic - 2012-04-04 23:05

      @ Graham - Not only absurd, but a total disgrace at how they are governing this country. We learn everyday about a failure and collapse in one department or the other, be it education, health, public works, defence, fisheries, policing et al. And they have the cheek to tell us that they are doing a good job. No wonder they want to push this bill through to cover up their ineptness, and, more sinisterly,their plundering of state assets through the awarding of tenders to family and friends.

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