Mandela Centre proposes bill amendments

2011-11-22 13:25

Johannesburg - Four amendments could fix the controversial protection of state information bill, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said on Tuesday.

This could be done without compromising the bill's fundamental principles, it said in a statement.

"The proposals are motivated by the concern that some aspects of the bill are unconstitutional."

The bill is set for the vote in the National Assembly at 14:00 and then has to move through the National Council of Provinces.

The centre said there was still time to fix defects.

It said the objective would be to make sure the bill met standards of constitutionality and aspirations for freedom of information and expression, while at the same time providing protection for legitimate state secrets.

"Much has been achieved, but the bill is not yet at a point where it can be said to have met the above-mentioned standards and aspirations."


The proposals, put into a position paper, were to:

- Restore sections of the bill which provided for a request for classified information to be dealt with in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA);

- Reformulate the wording of the disclosure offences to focus on the harm caused by the mishandling or disclosure of classified information rather than, as is currently the case, the mere fact that information was classified;

- Reformulate the public interest override. As it stands, only information showing a substantial contravention of the law or an imminent and serious public safety risk can be considered for declassification in the public interest.

The section, deriving from the PAIA, had to be reformulated to provide simply that a record may not be classified if the public interest in the disclosure of the record clearly outweighed any harm to national security that may result from its disclosure.

- Reinstate the archival and automatic declassification dimensions of the 2008 version of the bill, as the provisions for automatic declassification of old order classified information were unnecessarily narrow.

The Federated Unions of SA (Fedusa) said the bill represented a step backwards in the government's claims to want to improve transparency and accountability.

Workers should not be afraid of pointing out corruption where it exists.

"As we have seen in the past, poorly-drafted legislation translates into further long term costs when it has to be interpreted and revised," said Fedusa general secretary Dennis George.

Business Unity SA (Busa) said the public interest dimension of the bill should be reconsidered, "even at this late stage" to allay fears that transparency and accountability in public affairs would be weakened.

"Busa appeals to government to subject the new draft legislation to a 'public interest' test. Busa believes that such an amendment will go a long way to meeting the serious concerns that have been raised."

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  • Elle-Black - 2011-11-22 13:29

    The ANC is desparately pleading for us to kick them out of power,lets heed their call

      Bardy - 2011-11-22 13:32

      My sentiments exactly! I would be ashamed of being an ANC supporter if I was one!

      BA - 2011-11-22 13:55

      The ANC wants their members even more misinformed. Most ANC supporters are already blinded by propaganda, now they going to become deaf as well. Voting for the ANC again will add foolishness to the list.

      Herman - 2011-11-22 14:20

      Well, as they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.....they want to blind everyone.....

      Alan - 2011-11-22 14:34

      Blik-Sem. I need to be able to Mutli Task like Sganja (The Call Centre Agent). So many stories - JuJu, Toll Roads, Mac Maharaj ("The innocent one"), Black Tuesday, MP's ordered to vote for Secrecy, Black Tuesday being an Insult to the struggle...... This has to be a World Class Goon Show.

  • sean.looney - 2011-11-22 13:30

    i still don't understand why, if a government is elected to serve the people, it should keep secrets from them? this bill should be challenged right till the last because if it isn't its going to be goodbye south africa.

      Jan - 2011-11-22 13:35

      Exactly! This is just all more proof that our current government is corrupt and now that all the corruption is leaking to the public they want to change the law again! It is definitely time for a change of government in our country. The ANC has had it for more than enough time to prove themselves, and all they proved is that they cannot do it! I vote DA, and for very good reasons. Go to Cape Town! :)

      Sharmay - 2011-11-22 13:38

      It is because the government no longer cares about what we think. They are drunk with power. We are getting tolls, name changes, secrecy bills shoved down our throats with an attitude of "f*** you we'll do it anyway" dispite opposition from the public. ANC, I wouldn't pee on you to put out a fire.

      Alan - 2011-11-22 13:51

      I would rather see Juju in power, than have this bill passed. And that, I promise you, says a lot!

      Grim - 2011-11-22 13:58

      This was the plan from before Madiba went to prison. This is nothing new and has just been awaiting the international interest to die down. Now the world cup is over and the world is not watching they start the change to become a state of Zim.

      sean.looney - 2011-11-22 14:06

      the ironic thing, that i forgot to point out previously, is that the anc relied heavily on leaking state secrets to the outside world when they were fighting against apartheid. now when the shoe is on the other foot they want to suppress information and send it out in all its edited glory. one can only wonder what nelson mandela's opinions on such a bill would be? they did a good job of buttering everyone up last week with the julius malema case only to spit this into everyones face just as we were starting to think there may be a modicrum of integrity to the anc.

      Mvikeli - 2011-11-22 14:22

      neither here nor there but "state secrets" also include information that the government would not want other states to know about

      Kosie - 2011-11-22 14:38

      @mvikeli: what is the ANC busy with that other countries aren't allowed to know? all they want to do is hide their corruption and the actual state this country is in, it is exactly the same bill/act that mugabe introduced in zim some years ago and see what happened, about 20 yrs ago the zimbo's started complaining, but it only reached the world 4-6years ago due to this act, remember what i tell you today, zim here we come 10yrs max. and luckily i can leave the country but the majority can't and if you guys don't open your eyes you will starve to death.

      Myancmyfuture - 2011-11-22 14:47

      @ Kosie. every country has classified information that other countries do not and will never know

  • Marion - 2011-11-22 13:38

    May the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory never cease to vocalise the ideals he spent 27 years in jail for. VIVA MADIBA VIVA. Patricia de Lille made a valid point when she said the government doesn't care if this goes to the Constitutional Court because the taxpayer is going to foot the bill whereas those opposing it have to foot the bill themselves. I am not in a position to be on the streets in protest, but I am wearing black today.

  • Bokfan - 2011-11-22 13:40

    Geez thanks for riding in just as the curtain is falling. Now we only need a bugle to tell the world "THE CAVALRY HAS ARRIVED"

  • Myancmyfuture - 2011-11-22 13:40

    I'm sure there is a common ground somewhere and we need to find it

  • Mpume - 2011-11-22 13:45

    I still don't understand why the ANC wants to pursue this bill even though the public is against it,I thought the Government's job was to "serve the people".I think slowly but surely the ANC is trying to lose its members and future votes in the 2014 elections

      StarStruck - 2011-11-22 14:46

      Agg please they have the foresight of a blind Rhino and Rhinos are not well sighted animals to begin with. The kind of trouble they are causing is enough to start wars over. This is about protecting their interests which happens to be the Money.

      Michele - 2011-11-22 15:19

      One can only hope and pray that this happens.

  • Alan - 2011-11-22 13:46

    Hmmm - 4 amendments required? I can think of only 1. Scrap the cr*p.

  • Andre - 2011-11-22 13:56

    Embarrassment in the making. The ANC is going to see it's arse, this is only the beginning......

  • Edith - 2011-11-22 14:01

    Vusi where are you, you are a voice of sanity in all this stuff that is going on.

      johnkk - 2011-11-22 14:11

      I could not agree with you more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Vusi waar is jy my broer ????

      Heinrich - 2011-11-22 22:39

      Somebody who knows Vusi better check on him to see if he is O.K. His name suddenly changed to D%.

  • Alva - 2011-11-22 14:03

    Shortly we will know how pure of conscience the ANC MPs are if they vote for the info bill to go ahead. I am sure that is why they have put Mogoeng in the Concourt. Very sad day for RSA. :-((((

  • Hermann - 2011-11-22 14:03

    There is only one problem with the Mandela Centre's proposals. Madiba was not involved in the arms scandal, so their voices fall upon deaf ears. The sound of shower water is overpowering.

  • Richard - 2011-11-22 14:07

    I thought the operative word to the new SA was "Transparency" now I am told it is secrecy.

      Kaizer - 2011-11-22 14:13

      the "new" south africa is now an old beaten up taxi, repaired with spares from hijacked vehicles and built on the blood of innocents.

  • malcolm - 2011-11-22 14:08

    The Mandela centre of memory and even Mandela himself are irrellevent. They have no reigns on the evil ANC. All they can do is celebrate the memory of Mandela. I still fail to see why everybody fusses about Mandela. Hes visions never materialised. They are still visions. The only dynamic thing he did was to sit in jail for 30 years, whilst the rest of the world convinced the apartheid regime that the ANC where the right people to run South Africa. Just look at us now.

      Alan - 2011-11-22 14:37

      I disagree - Madiba was the ultimate Statesman. The way the ANC have freefallen into the doldrums is an insult to Madiba.

  • Justa - 2011-11-22 14:23

    This is the final step in the fall of this country

      Alan - 2011-11-22 14:37

      Nah - The ANC are making their own bed...

      Kosie - 2011-11-22 14:43

      the slippery slope that we are on will get slippier

  • johnkk - 2011-11-22 14:23

    I predict that should this bill be passed, that 2014 will be the 2nd last democratic vote that this country will see. I am starting to understand why we do not stand up against the likes of Robert Mugabe, our government are planning the same country hi jacking. Zimbabwe is ruled by a core of 200 elitists. We have 264 ANC MP's. We will be stupid to think that they do not have the power. unfortunately this is the government that were voted for, the question is will the majority vote for them again. UNFORTUNATELY Mr Mandela's dream is being urinated on, and will soon be flushed down the toilet and become a memory of a fools dream (No disrespect intended TATA). The only way that we can stand up against this government is for 20million of the 49million South Africans to stand up and make a concerted effort to get rid of this corrupt government. All opposition parties will have to stand together and drive this motion until it works or is wiped out. To those of you that voted for the ANC, vote for oppostion parties at the next election and KNOW that it will make South Africa a better country for all.

  • George - 2011-11-22 14:27

    The anc WILL go down in the history books for there kid to see as the most corrupt bunch of thieving back stabing biscuits the WORLD has ever seen in the 20th century.

  • Cecile - 2011-11-22 14:33

    The bottom line? Taxpayers have a RIGHT TO KNOW how their hard earned money is spent. Write to now to voice your opinion. According to Avaaz, 9000 calls were made in protest to parliament today, and a new e-mail address had to be created to deal with letters today. USE IT, or lose our country forever. Let's at least try.

  • baudoux1 - 2011-11-22 14:34

    ANC thieves!! The money pot is going to run dry, once everyone with a brain F#$ks off out of this God Forsaken Country!!!!

  • FormulaSA - 2011-11-22 14:41

    Well, this controversial Bill is certainly getting some attention from many quarters. The Mandela foundation, Desmond Tutu et al. South Africans clearly have a great deal to say, I wonder what the results will be?

  • russelmukondwa - 2011-11-22 14:47

    Unless it is adjusted, this is bill is just the South African version of AIPPA (in Zimbabwe). Thats why people can be killed in Zim and no-one dares ask questions, millions can dissappear from state coffers and people die from starvation and nothing is done, people have to suffer quietly. you wouldnt want this in SA, would you??

      Alan - 2011-11-22 14:51

      Exactly! Spot on!

  • africanwolf - 2011-11-22 14:47

    They should make a referendum on the bill and let the people decide

  • Gavin - 2011-11-22 15:15

    One cannot trust a government that has to change the laws so that they can hide the truth

  • thechrisberryshow - 2011-11-22 15:23

    lets hope that the incompetence of the ANC hinders the actual information classification process....

  • thechrisberryshow - 2011-11-22 15:29

    *disapointed, sarcastic tone - I'm pretty certain this is EXACTLY what Mandela fought long and hard for...

  • wade.rogerlund24 - 2011-11-22 16:00

    South Africa< a land that went from a bright prospect of the continent to the laughing stock of the world all because of one government party! good on you ANC good on you, keeping driving us into the past! what a joke!!!

  • Lebogang Dikgetsi - 2011-11-22 16:10

    I see a resemblance of my matric book "ANIMAL FARM" where the ruling animals were changing their own liberation rules, eg. 'All animals are equal' that was changed to 'all animals are equal but some are more equal than others'

  • Mrs-Pal - 2011-11-22 16:12

    The sensible people opposing this is unfortunately in the minority. Next year 40 million cattle will yet again pitch at the voting booths to vote ANC. In the week following the ANC's victory the same cattle will cause chaos and destruction in the streets because they are unhappy with their service delivery, broken promises etc......White man, pack your bags!

  • Peter - 2011-11-22 16:47

    Once again the most pathetic and corrupt government passes another to cover all the backsides for what they have stolen or worse during the last 17 years and especially for the future what they plan to steal break or ruin during their time in power, stand up SOUTH AFRICA and get rid of these monsters.

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-22 22:15

    No amendments. Just scrap. What has happened to fortitude? We want to get rid of gangs/drugs. So we negotiate with them. Please don't shoot. You may still sell your drugs. Big deal. Mac: Did you or did you not lie? Oh, section so and so, personal dignity, rights. Mac did you or did you not lie? Trial by media. Proper channels...Hey! the media found out that you stole a few million Rand. I hereby sack you. Sorry, man. But hey, you can still carry on drawing your millions in salary and also pursue those business interests of yours...No-one will know. We will classify the information... What a complete and total ANC FA Cup . Can't wait for the Final.

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