News24

Info bill 'remains draconian, flawed'

2012-09-28 22:17

Pretoria - Organisations opposed to the protection of state information bill vowed on Friday to continue resisting the contentious draft legislation.

Speaking during a protest march in Pretoria, Right2Know (R2K) campaign Gauteng spokesperson Dale McKinley said the "flawed" bill had to be withdrawn.

"The bill before Parliament is still flawed and has many problems. There are several reasons [for opposing the bill], but the main one is the lack of a public interest defence clause and lack of protection for whistle-blowers," he said.

Few people gathered in central Pretoria for the march to the Union Buildings. McKinley said the low attendance was caused by "transport issues" in bringing people from the townships.

"There are huge... criminal consequences for possessing and exposing information; it is a very draconian piece of legislation. It will take us back to a secretive state and I don’t think any South African wants that," said McKinley.

"It is International Right To Know Day across the world today, and we are going to say to the presidency, 'take the bill back and re-consider’. We are marching to defend freedom of expression."

He said support for calls to halt the bill was widespread.

"The support has been cutting across racial and social class lines. The collective pressure has been working so far. We have seen communities, unions, churches opposing the bill.

"The vast majority of South Africans are against the bill and want to defend their right to freedom of access to information," said McKinley.

A statement issued by R2K later on Friday called on government to stick to its promise to set up a whistleblower protection fund. It said whistleblowers already suspended or dismissed for speaking out against abuse of power must be reinstated.

The bill must be referred to the Constitutional Court before being signed into law, the group said.

On Wednesday this week, the DA Abroad said it would lead a protest on Friday by South Africans living in London against the bill.

Global chairperson Ludre Stevens said the demonstration at the SA High Commission was a bid to draw attention to the "dangerous" consequences that would follow if Parliament were to pass the current draft of the bill.

"If this secrecy bill were to be enacted in its current form, we might never be able to access the truth of what [really] happened at the Marikana tragedy, or get to the bottom of the controversial arms deal," he said.

The bill has been rewritten extensively but critics say many problem areas remain, notably the lack of a public interest defence for those who publish state secrets to reveal wrongdoing.

It is expected to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces next month, and then referred back to the National Assembly before it is signed into law.

The ruling ANC has indicated it is not prepared to make further concessions on the bill.

Comments
  • hannes.goldner - 2012-09-29 00:40

    Zimbabwe no. 2

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-09-29 04:30

    The ANC tried to shut Malema out AND NOW ? Same will happen to this sh*t Info bill !!

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-29 06:35

    Keep on voting Anc.....

  • mark.mcdonogh.1 - 2012-09-29 06:55

    Real change can only happen at the voting stations. If the ANC win the election as voted in by the majority of black African citizens it really means that this mass of people do not really want change for the better,net of all in South Africa. But more than that! When we vote into authority those who we know are corrupt, evil and incompetent to govern, firstly we should not complain about anything the government does and secondly those who vote them in now also become responsible for the crimes the governors commit. Dear black citizens, please vote for those who have proved that good governance brings hope and peace to all of us. If you bot ANC you vote in death. Vote for any other party and you will see the back broken of this monster of evil that rules OUR nation that you, the majority of citizens have voted in. Now is the time to change.

  • Savethe White O - 2012-09-29 07:26

    Forget about it you are fighting a losing battle, just like the toll road issue in Gauteng. If you ever go to court with this issue the anc's constitutional court will throw it out

  • gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-29 08:19

    Has the ANC got nothing better to do? We do not need soviet style legislation to gag the population. Next the ANC will want to introduce the 180 day detention without trial law again. This government is very sick indeed.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-29 10:15

      All part of their move toward total dictatorship.

      hugh.robinson.56 - 2012-09-29 22:37

      Well it would appear that you missed the boat somewhat in the case of the boermag fellows they spent almost 10 years in jail without a proper trail. The precedent is set so 180 days without trail is nothing.

  • joe.blogs.98837399 - 2012-09-29 08:30

    The Right to Know Campaign has accomplished so much. Salute ! For those discriminated against, by Affirmative Action and other Race Based Policies, The End Affirmative Action Campaign is currently recruiting Plaintiffs for a massive Class Action against the SA government. For more info https://www.endaffirmativeaction.co.za

  • Gatvol Griet - 2012-09-29 08:36

    Please people support the Rght 2 Know campaign against the Communist ANC State, which seeks to eventually CRUSH all freedom, all rghts to commit atrocities and a reign of terror and be protected by this Secrecy Bill. The old style communist regime is returning in Russia. World leaders are advocating failure of capitalism, but it's a covert global effort to suppress and enslave us all. We have to keep fighting this evil.

      hugh.robinson.56 - 2012-09-29 22:40

      Yes even England is contemplating a similar bill. stripping away the right to know. Democracy is dead. Long live anti-democracy is the cry from Governments that are supposed to protect or freedoms.

      rusted.axe - 2012-09-30 12:19

      @Xenswim1 There are no more independant countries. Our economies are all run by the Bank of International Settlements, and our politics dictated via the UN from the CFR. Is it strange that the US, South Africa and a bunch of other countries effect the same control systems simultaneously? RICA and FICA has its equivalents everywhere. Look at Toll Roads. It is all to block the mobility of people and to eliminate any protest when the World's Idiots finally realise we have entered a new era of Global Enslavement.

  • greg.quinn.353 - 2012-09-29 12:13

    "The bill must be referred to the Constitutional Court before being signed into law, the group said." The same court that's recently overturned the SANRAL ruling. Yawwwwnnnn.... nothing constitutional about that court.

  • rusted.axe - 2012-09-30 12:09

    I see government and gangsters as two sides of the same coin. Taking people's earnings at the threat of injury. It's time we view Law as it is. A bunch of crap written on paper by people we don't know. There is no social contract. The mentality is the same, whether the affiliation is expressed with tattoos or uniforms. A democratic government that claims to operate from the mandate of its electorate, and then endeavours to withhold information and keep secrets; is guilty of treason. We should get rid of all UN puppets- both political and economic. Destroy the Round Table legacy of Cecil John Rhodes and take back our country.

  • MallyGold - 2012-09-30 13:11

    The state simply wants state-sponsored theft to continue with one difference: now it will occur legally behind closed doors with impunity.

  • ant.duke - 2012-11-14 17:04

    We must use the Constitutional Court continuously against this tyranny. Eventually, they'll try to change it and that will be the day that all hell breaks loose...think armed insurgency...

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