Kasrils backs Sanef against spy 'paranoia'

2011-11-17 22:36

Cape Town - Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils has come out in support of the SA National Editor's Forum (Sanef) after it again threatened legal action if a public interest defence clause is left out of the protection of information bill.

"I also fully endorse Sanef's protest regarding the security minister's, and other ANC MPs, disgraceful assertion that members of civil society protesting against the bill are agents of foreign spies," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"This is precisely the mindset that I fear... Consider the impact of such inflamatory statements on members of the intelligence services."

They would be encouraged to adopt a mindset already noted for "excessive secrecy, exaggerated fears and paranoia", he said.

"The present regrettable and dangerous culture within the intelligence services need to be reformed," he said.

Sanef said on Thursday it was concerned over State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele's refusal to allow such a defence in the bill.

"Such a clause would enable a journalist, whistle-blower, or citizen who disclosed classified information, if charged, to enter a defence plea of publication in the public interest," Sanef said in a statement.

Last week, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe voiced appreciation for Sanef's view that it would be for the courts in every case to decide whether the public interest defence held.

He suggested this created the basis for a "meeting point" on the issue, sparking hopes that such an amendment could be considered for the bill, Sanef said.

Despite this, Cwele told the National Assembly on Wednesday that the ANC could not support such a defence.

"He stated that no other country had such a clause in similar legislation, quietly ignoring the fact that the United States and other countries have other mechanisms in their legislation to provide the protection sought."

Sanef also took strong exception to Cwele's assertions that "foreign spies" were paying civil society groups to oppose the bill.

"Sanef is one of the groups that oppose the bill and rejects the minister's claims as insulting and libellous."

Sanef noted Cwele's admission that following sustained pressure by critics, many amendments had been made to the bill.

These improvements had been based on well-thought out arguments and reasons.

"Sanef not only rejects Cwele's wild allegations but calls on him to provide the proof to back them."

If Cwele's latest obdurate stand prevailed and the bill was passed without the safeguard, Sanef and other critics would have no alternative but to press for the legislation being referred to the Constitutional Court for it to rule on its constitutionality.

"The alternative is that important information will be withheld from the public," Sanef said.

  • Sky - 2011-11-17 22:43

    This, in the end, will only give rise to a sort of 'wikileaks' that will be based overseas. Information will come out, one way or another...

      Sky - 2011-11-17 22:46

      The only way to stop it is to 'switch off the internet' like our dear fatboy once said..

  • Cracker - 2011-11-17 22:50

    The ANC is destroying its own credibility and endangering its own higher-up and more senior members. They - the latter - may now support the legislation. Wait until the wrong faction or individuals get their hands on those secrecy buttons. ANC, many of us may not be your members and disagree vehemently with your policies. BUT hell man, we love our country with its new freedoms and we would prefer openness. What is it that must be hidden from us?

      Win - 2011-11-17 23:15

      Excellent question. What exactly is it that they want to hide from me, the man in the street? Give us some truly convincing examples of other countries if you want. What happened there because they didn't have any clamp-down laws? CONVINCE US ! Tell us why we NEED information control! I'll be the first to support you if your story makes sense, i.e. it's not a matter of principle to me. I gladly forfeit certain information if it is detrimental in a way, such as you may have given the order to assissinate Mugabe.

      Shoe - 2011-11-18 00:22

      Go Cracker!!! Yes the ANC finds us, the public, very nosy and also unable to keep secrets. They think we will go gossiping with neighbors. So they decided to just not share anything with us, lest we tell on them:).

      Grant - 2011-11-18 02:09

      Cracker : The ANC has credibility?? Anew one on me. We must face the fact that the ANC are just devising a new way to prevent their corruption being exposed. They disbanded the scorpions for the same reason. SA is not at war or fighting sanctions. The ANC should come clean an explain exactly what information they want protected and why.

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-17 23:12

    State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele... Wasn't it this man's wife...I mean, did anybody...Hibiscus coast...SSHH!...isn't this a secret?... Does HE know?...are we in trouble?... Thank heavens we have the ANC to protect us.

      Sky - 2011-11-17 23:15


  • johnkk - 2011-11-17 23:21

    It raises the question, as to why the latest judge president was appointed in such a shallow manner. Currently, the media (at times to dramatised) is the only way that the SA citizen is able to stay informed of what government is doing. It concerns me that Mr Kasrils is opposed to the bill, after all he is a man that is very familiar with government secrets. Why are a certain sector of the ANC adamant on forcing this bill through parliament without proper public opinion ? We have a problem here, somebody wants to rule with fear and no repercussion. Unfortunately the comments of cwele (Is his wife not in jail????) and the likes, are reflecting a government that are trying to use fear to ignite the dry grass of racism. If this bill is passed/forced, I am afraid to say that the legacy that Madiba intended will have been raped and left to die. It will merely have been a moment in history, and NOT the start of a rainbow nation drenched with FREEDOM....... Sad, so sad. That a nation with so much potential will seize to exist because of GREED !

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2011-11-17 23:52

    Need to add a extra commandment to the bible while we at it. Thou shalt no expose thieving government officials.

      Shoe - 2011-11-18 00:29

      Or something like: Thou shalt not tell on thy government's corruption.

  • Shoe - 2011-11-18 00:36

    Yeah, I told y'all Sanef. See how y'all go around talking when Schabir Shake shows his big face in public? Told'ya the ANC wasn't gonna like it one bit. Remember also how y'all went ballistic about Cwele's wife's secret drug business, and Shiceka visiting his jailbird ex-lover in Switzerland, and y'all told on him, and Mahlangu-Nkabinde, and Roux-Shabangu, and Tony Yengeni, and Duduzane Zuma, and Khulubuse Zuma......who next are you gonna tell on? Huh?

  • Herman - 2011-11-18 06:28

    Communist regime, what else should we expect?

  • martin.neate - 2011-11-18 06:49

    we are the 99%

  • Piet - 2011-11-18 06:50

    ANC = Apartheid now coming

  • rory.short1 - 2011-11-18 07:03

    Cwele's attitude is the clearest indicator yet that this Bill will provide the means for such people, when in government, to destroy our democracy.

  • Ian - 2011-11-18 07:16

    what is this kasrils slimy creep up to, we all know he is is an anc commie ass licker, so what is his hidden agenda or is IT his usual show off useless BS

  • Winsome - 2011-11-18 07:30

    I have never trusted Kasrils. He is devious and I am sure there must be something behind this protest of his. But besides that, exactly what is it the ANC want hidden from us? Am I doff that I don't see this? The truth ALWAYS comes out in some form or another anyway........

  • marazor - 2011-11-18 08:31

    Uncle Ronnie the 'freedom fighter'... for years you were riding the gravy train and I never heard you once complain... hypocrite!!

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