Info bill may be delayed again

2012-05-04 22:01

Cape Town - The 17 May deadline for MPs to finalise the contentious protection of state information bill may again be postponed.

Raseriti Tau, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces committee working on the bill, on Friday urged members to isolate the main arguments raised in recent provincial and parliamentary hearings on the draft act, saying this should allow them to conclude their deliberations in June.

Tau later scrambled back when asked about shifting the deadline for reporting to Parliament on the bill.

"I don't want to talk about extensions. We are trying our best to work within the limited timeframe," he told the media.

Tau also refused to comment on the possibility of amending the bill, though it is reliably understood that at least some changes are on the cards.

This would see the bill sent back to the National Assembly to approve those amendments before it could be signed by President Jacob Zuma.

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees said the deadline had to be moved back to allow the committee to right serious problems that remain with the bill.

"I have that no doubt that we will go on after 17 May."

The committee on Friday convened to accept a report summarising the overwhelmingly critical commentary on the so-called "secrecy bill" from the hearings.

Alison Tilley, from the Open Democracy Advice Centre, said it was heartening that the committee had taken the trouble to compile the input and planned to mull it in deliberations next week.

Over four days of hearings in Parliament in late March, veteran human rights lawyer George Bizos led a chorus of warnings that the bill was unconstitutional. Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi vowed to be the first to launch a legal challenge unless it were redrafted.

Vavi said the bill would take South Africa back to being a security state, a concern that has been amplified by the wide powers given to controversial crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Like Bizos, Vavi called for a public interest defence to be written into the legislation to protect whistleblowers and journalists who risked long prison sentences for disclosing state secrets that cover up corruption.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela told lawmakers the bill, if it were passed, would derail her work and undermine more progressive information laws.

This week Nobel literature laureate Nadine Gordimer took the debate abroad when she told the New York Times Review of Books the legislation was a threat to freedom of expression and should be rejected in its entirety.

  • Dave - 2012-05-04 22:34

    Please continue to delay until Jesus comes again.

      Jerolan - 2012-05-05 10:16

      knowing the ANC Zuma will have another child and name it Jesus

      merlinvanstaden - 2012-05-05 22:00

      he is he take them one by one

      alansmartSnr - 2012-05-10 23:56

      Well, well well.. score now Toll - citizens 2 - Gov. O Information Bill - Citizens 1 - Gov. 0 ..This is how it should be..Be ruled by the people, for the people.. Bravo again for Modensela, Vavi, DA, Afriforum and all others that united once again to prevent this dictorial mode of government by the corrupters, thieves and Fat Cat.

  • SA - 2012-05-04 23:02

    Go on ANC – Try and silence the people – we will no longer be silenced!!!

  • Kimson Komodo Chan - 2012-05-04 23:18

    don't delay this piece of garbage legislation. scrap it like we do with e-tolls altogether. whoever invented this rubbish bill must really be locked up somewhere.

      Dave - 2012-05-04 23:56

      Deployed Cadres are responsible for the draughting STALINIST legislation, on instruction from their CORRUPT masters.

  • Atholl - 2012-05-05 00:20

    Governments and Criminals have discovered (too late)that --Information-- internet, evidence, profiling, search engines, cut/paste/email, transcripts, recordings .. ............. has overtaken .... --weapons-- (gunpowder, shrapnel, tnt, napalm, nuclear heads, missiles, torpedoes, cannon balls, catapults, katteys, pellet guns, shotguns, 'flintstone' bats, teargas etc..) as the key to maintaining --Power-- and --Control-- The freedom to receive and to impart information and ideas - has more power than any weapon or combination of weapons. That's why the constitution (Section 16) guarantees freedom of expression. the real truth ? ... a law, cunningly designed to usurp Power and Control of S16 by Muzzling the rapid spread of --Information-- under the guise of a security --Weapon-- threat will be the first major casualty of the hidden threat --Information-- that it was intended to muzzle.

  • Michael - 2012-05-05 05:48

    Ah! Now I see why the information bill and the judicial reform process are concurrent in parliament. If the current government gets it right, they can render the very basis of our sacred constitution null and void. That doesn't seem like a very good deal for us South Africans.

      Atholl - 2012-05-05 06:21

      --- Enforce a problem Concurrently --- In a Country that has only one major negative - the 'Big Turn-Off' - Crime ::} .. the persons governing and managing this situation and therefore responsible and accountable .. the Enforcers ... who enforce a solution ... are doing everything in the opposite manner as: .. the Enforcers ... who enforce a problem ... under the guise of a solution to the .judicial reform process .superior courts bill .Supreme Courts and ConCourt reviews .advocate appointments .Information Muzzling .Dubious puppet Appointments in Justice, Crime, Special Investigations .Prison sentence games using smart Goebbelsonic words like . transformation . protection . popular . better life as Michael correctly says : 'Concurrently' in order to maintain Power and Control and to weaken the Constitution that protects the public and tourists from the Big Turn-Off.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-05-05 06:17

    The combined brain power of our leaders equates to the brain power of a single cockroach! Keep going you bunch of fothermuckers!!

  • Ryan - 2012-05-05 06:55

    It's easy to get rid of crap like the info bill and e-tolls...... Just vote DA. Look at Cape Town........ Like a European City at the bottom edge of Cape Town

      Lerato - 2012-05-05 09:24

      What's this obsession with Europe? Go there and good luck

  • Lerato - 2012-05-05 07:04

    At least the ANC listens to the public

      Michael - 2012-05-05 21:22

      you're a spectacular idiot do you know that? When has the ANC EVER listened to the public? Probably between raping SA of it's wealth through rampant filthy corruption, and building themselves a private hospital and having 2 jets to fly one person, probably.

  • Anthony C. Onwudiegwu - 2012-05-05 07:07

    Those who are today, calling for the scraping of the information bill understand verywell what it means to have it in place, relating from the wealth of accomplishment thy recorded through it in the past.\r\n\r\nTheir fear and agitation couldn't have been informed by any other fact than the experiences of victims of the past; the consequencies of which has become the causes of our today's political dilemma.

      Michael - 2012-05-05 21:24

      u probably have so many thumbs down because your comment makes no sense, what are you trying to say? read it, bud, it's nonsensical

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