MPs seeks advice on info bill

2013-10-29 22:50
(Nielen Bottomley, News24)

(Nielen Bottomley, News24)

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Cape Town - MPs processing the protection of state information bill on Tuesday heeded advice from State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele to seek more legal counsel on the adoption of a committee report.

The bill was sent back to the ad hoc committee last week, after it failed to observe procedural rules.

The committee's report was meant to include minority views on amendments to sections 42 and 45 of the bill.

At Tuesday's meeting, it was agreed that the DA and African Christian Democratic Party's (ACDP) views would be recorded in the report.

However, Cope and IFP MPs were not present in the meeting, raising questions about whether their opinion on the amended bill should be included.

Committee chair Cecil Burgess said advice would be sought from state law advisers and parliamentary staff.

In the meantime, a draft report would be circulated among MPs.

"There will be another paragraph which will incorporate that both IFP and Cope objects to the process, but abstained from the adoption of the report. That will be circulate very soon," Burgess said.

Draft report

The meeting was postponed to Wednesday to give MPs time to consider the draft report.

A final report would likely be adopted

A fortnight ago, the ANC majority on the committee pushed through limited changes to the bill, overruling objections from other parties that the process was flawed.

Opposition parties welcomed changes to the bill, but abstained from the committee vote, arguing that President Jacob Zuma had fallen foul of the Constitution by failing to give MPs an exact brief when he referred the bill back to the National Assembly in September.

MPs fixed an incorrect cross-reference in section 42 and a punctuation error in section 45 that in effect rendered meaningless a hard-won safeguard on the state's powers to classify information.

Read more on:    da  |  cope  |  anc  |  acdp  |  ifp  |  jacob zuma  |  siyabonga cwele  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  info bill

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