DA lays out plans to fight info bill

2011-11-24 17:47

Cape Town - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille committed her party on Thursday to fight the protection of state information bill on several fronts.

"Black Tuesday", when the bill was approved by the National Assembly, would one day be seen as a turning point in South Africa's democracy, she told a media briefing at Parliament.

"Whatever happens in the months ahead, Tuesday will be remembered as the day that the ANC voted against media freedom - a cornerstone of our democracy."

Some people had resigned themselves to a future under the act, with the censorship implications thought to have died with apartheid.

"The DA has not given up. Far from it. We have fought against the bill since its inception and we will keep on fighting.

"This legislation has no place in a free and democratic South Africa," Zille said.

Among other things, she had asked President Jacob Zuma for an urgent meeting to discuss the immediate as well as the far-reaching implications of the bill for South Africa.

"News of the vote in the National Assembly has been covered worldwide. Human Rights Watch, for example, described it as 'a blow to freedom of expression and democratic accountability'," she said.

The response of the international currency markets was immediate. The rand slumped to a 30-month low, which analysts attributed to growing international reservations about South Africa's future.

In the coming weeks, the DA would also launch an e-mobilisation campaign to increase pressure on the ANC to withdraw the bill in its current form.

Lawyers had been instructed to look into the bill's validity.

Crucial distinction

The DA had argued from the outset that the bill should not have been tagged by Parliament's Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 bill - defined in the Constitution as an ordinary bill not affecting the provinces.

Instead, because the bill had implications for provincial archives, which Schedule Five of the Constitution determined was an exclusive competency of provinces, it should have been tagged as a section 76 bill - an ordinary bill affecting the provinces.

"This is a crucial distinction, and could well be the bill's undoing," Zille said.

Incorrect tagging of the bill would render it unconstitutional, and therefore open to legal challenge.

The DA would also try to have the bill amended as it passed through the National Council of Provinces process, and would petition Zuma in terms of Section 79 of the Constitution.

This section allows Zuma to refer the bill back to the Assembly if he has reservations about its constitutionality.

Zille said the DA would further lobby MPs from other parties to support a Section 80 petition.

"The section 80 petition process is the final option, should all other avenues have been exhausted," she said.

In terms of this section, MPs could apply to the Constitutional Court for an order declaring that all or part of an act is unconstitutional.

The application had to be supported by at least one third of the members of the Assembly, and be made within 30 days of the president assenting to and signing the act.

"We believe that it is possible to acquire the 134 signatures needed to make an application to the Constitutional Court."

Collectively, the combined opposition holds 136 seats in the House - two more than required to lodge a Constitutional Court application through the office of the Speaker.

The DA was prepared to use extra-parliamentary means to stop the bill, as it currently stood, from becoming law, including the legal avenues at its disposal, Zille said.

  • Shirley - 2011-11-24 17:56

    As many parties as possible should fight this,cosatu has said they would. These people need to know this is a democratic country and they must uphold the very constitution they drafted!

      Reshan - 2011-11-24 19:10

      All of us should Like:

      David - 2011-11-25 10:44

      the DA is an empty can( makes the loudest noise). its time the DA stood for principle than just riding the political storm. hellen said the same about jacob zuma's corruption charges, soon as the storm died down they fogot the promise they made to fight for justice and make zuma account. no they are now riding the state info bill storm cloud. guess what the outcome will be. nothing!!!. afriforum has done more and won more for white south africans then the DA. afriforum youth is more visible then the DA youth. the DA is only relevent because the anc is not delivering. therefore not an alternative. we are watching DA. prove to us that you are not populists and will fight this even if you'll end up bankrupt, just for principle.

  • Transkie Sun - 2011-11-24 18:00

    Stand together. Every single one of us. Black, white, all of us. Let's unite as one big force. They can't shoot all of us.

  • Brainbow - 2011-11-24 18:12

    Although the DA is doing good work the key to fighting this effort to silence the media will come from the people within the ANC. Get up even higher, if you do indeed occupy higher moral ground. You are a part of an amazing chapter in our history. Help write it!

  • Joseph - 2011-11-24 18:32

    What is democracy?.Missing the point in these whole stupid scenario.Is one man one vote undemocratic.If it is what then is democracy.In order to get the majority vote on your side you need to lobby the majority to vote for you.If we did not vote for you will we be declared undemocratic by the losing party.What is democracy and when do we apply a one man one vote prinsiple without being declared undemocratic by the losing parties.What then is democracy?.We might not like what has been voted in to law but our right to vote in a free and fare society should not be compromised becouse one did not like the outcome of the votes.Was the prosses free and fare.I have head political parties saying the people have spoken and we have been given a mandate to run the country,province or municipality,what does that mean?.The DA,ANC,IFP have said so in the areas mandated to them by the electrolet.If the ANC have lobbied succesfully for its members to vote for the bill and the opposition failed to convince them will that be declared unconstitutional and why?.The people have spoken,what does that mean to the people who voted them in to power and the governing party.I am not for or against the bill but the constitutional prinsiple of one man one vote which should not be compromised by the losing parties.Democracy is complex and losing parties do not understand its complicity.

      Jeffrey - 2011-11-24 18:40

      Joseph, A democracy is not just a matter of One man, One vote. It consists of free speech, a free press, freedom of association, and the rule of law. In a constitutional democracy the constitution is the supreme authority, not the party with the most votes. All laws passed by the ruling party must comply with the constitution. The government is subject to the rule of law the same as any other institution or person. Otherwise "One man, One vote" turns into a tyranny of the majority which is not a democracy.

      Mike - 2011-11-24 19:19

      Jeffrey spot on, if that is not understood by Joseph then he has no idea what a constitutional democracy is what a waste. Imagine how many oppressed nations would love a constitution like ours, yet even when handed down on a platter some people just don't what gift they have received.

      Mike - 2011-11-24 19:21

      Sorry some people don't appreciate the gift they have received

      Joseph - 2011-11-24 19:27

      fare and fine,why then do we vote if a one man one vote turns out to be tyranny and who is the governmant if the people shall not govern through their vote.our constitution is just as good as the paper which it was written on,but in practise it favours the minority rich.

      An observer - 2011-11-25 07:14

      The ANC elite are now part of the minority rich.

  • colin.dovey - 2011-11-24 18:41

    Very clever, in fact ingenious, pointing out the legal distinction between a section 75 and a section 76 bill, which could render its implementation flawed from the outset. When you listen to HZ, without bias, she always clarifies issues such as these....guarantee most of the ANC rank & file would not have a clue.

  • Dudley - 2011-11-24 18:46

    She is the Iorn Lady of SA the World will get to know. Well done Mrs. Zille go for it we support you all the way.

  • Robbie - 2011-11-24 18:50

    Go for it.Tired of Anarchy Nepotism & Corruption.

  • Makatikamusona - 2011-11-24 19:20

    So I guess Helen has not resigned after all

      braamc - 2011-11-24 19:48

      Helen has not resigned yet as premier, not to long before she takes up presidency of SA, suppose then she has to resign

      Makatikamusona - 2011-11-24 20:15

      I now know you can't trust any politician, I was really convinced. We got to face reality she will never be a president of the country, but otherwise keep hoping I guess it be futile to live without HOPE

      Mantsho - 2011-11-24 23:59

      Why should she resigned,she is doing a great job,no fightings inside the DA,and believe me DA is still going to come to power in South Africa,some of us really need change!

  • Mpho - 2011-11-25 01:45

    helen zille is a dictator, how lomg has she been leader of DA, i mean dont get me wrong she is doing a great job hating on tha anc and not having anything beter to do. well any way its not like she's going to be president of the country anytime soon so i dont have to worry aobut her dictatorship right?

      Malcolm - 2011-11-25 13:23

      @Mpho. Before you make untrue dictatorial statements, know this: Dictators rule by fear; they are liars and thieves. They do evil and always make extravagant promises which they do not keep. They promote false trust and control the media to promote the doctrines of the regime. Dictators do not have the wellbeing of the people in mind; they concentrate power in the hands of a one-party system with mass membership, encouraging the police to use terror as a tool of policy. They hate all domestic opposition and their most remarkable feature is their physical control over their own populations, which can result in the mass slaughter of millions of people. Mpho, does this sound even remotely like Helen? Do you perhaps know who may fit this bill? Ring a bell maybe?

  • Jp - 2011-11-25 02:34

    transparency is definetly not a color in the "rainbow" nation

  • Lekgwakgwa - 2011-11-25 06:31

    DA plain it going to work and is the time to Helen Zille to ask the meeting between DA and COSATU to speak with the future of the country.

  • Transkie Sun - 2011-11-25 07:10

    Mpho: you right your only worry is you going to go hungry and desperate when all things start falling apart. Right !!

  • malcolm - 2011-11-25 07:11

    The ANC, although they fought for democracy, never had a true understanding of the concept from the start. To them, all it meant was an opportunity to take power through majority vote. They never realised the responsibilities that democracy comes with, and its mandate to the people. Now that they have had democracy for 17 years, they are finding out that it is fact something they do not want. They are now taking the first steps backward towards a form of apartheid & dictatorship. Oh how wrong mister Mandelas visions where. He must be very dissappointed and hollow, looking at the mess of an organisation his precious ANC have become/ always were. His ANC have destroyed his legacy, and will make him die with a sorrowful heart.

  • malcolm - 2011-11-25 07:17

    Helen Zille is the Nelson Mandela of today. If she can succeed in her quest, and lead this country to true democracy, the only difference between her vision, and that of Mandelas, will be that hers will have been achieved, unlike that of Mandelas. With the help of the ANC of today, Mandela ultimately was responsible for leading S.A to the chaos & destruction that we see today. Sad but true.

  • Glenn - 2011-11-25 08:37

    The one thing I don't understand with this whole thing is this: Why would the ANC play this hand? It only makes them look paranoid & draconian and it allows the opposition a major reason to speak to an gain traction with a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't agree with them. I don't see how the ANC garner's more votes with this move.

      Stephen - 2011-11-25 12:52

      Loose a few votes now, or loose a lot over time due the exposing of corruption within their ranks. Easy. 1. Pass the bill 2. Keep the majority from knowing the truth 3. ?? 4. Profit

  • pages:
  • 1