Manuel: Media coverage on info bill unfair

2012-08-01 22:17

Johannesburg - There has been unfair reporting on the protection of state information bill after the media became embedded in a position on the issue, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said on Wednesday.

"I don't believe there is any government anywhere that does not operate without secrets. We therefore have to work with what we have," he said, according to a copy of a speech delivered to students at the University of Stellenbosch.

Manuel said the Bill of Rights in the Constitution enshrines the right to access to information, with a clause dealing with the limitation of this right.

The Protection of Access to Information Act (Paia) was incorporated in 2000 alongside the Protected Disclosures Act, which deals with whistle-blowers, he said.

"The protection of whistle-blowers cannot be trumped by the bill," he said.

"But Paia has exclusions, including the right to access to medical records of citizens. Other matters that are excluded relate to defence, foreign relations, fighting crime, and intelligence."

Manuel described the Constitution as a Russian doll into which the Paia and the limitations necessary to protect certain information should fit.

He added that the bill could be traced to the values embedded in the Constitution.

"We should not say no to the bill, but rather ask how the bill can be implemented. But that is the kind of conversation South Africans do not seem to want to have," Manuel said.

"If we don't have this bill, we operate under the Official Secrets Act of 1982. What is before us is a significant amendment on the 1982 act."

Manuel also spoke about the National Planning Commission appointed by President Jacob Zuma in 2010 to develop a plan to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

"These are big challenges. If we want democracy and the quality of life we know we are capable of, each one of us has to take the responsibility to lead."

He urged students to take the ideas embedded in the National Development Plan forward.

"We need to involve everybody in taking responsibility. We need active citizenship to root out corruption. If you don't care about democracy, why should government care? All citizens should be active and engaged."

  • higgs.boson.5036 - 2012-08-01 22:30

    What are you smoking Mr Manuel. People have been trying to TELL you how to implement it. Add a whistle blowers clause. Add a clause for wrongful classification. Remove the secrecy need of non intelligence and defence departments. Do that and there will be no problem.

      adam.gardener.12 - 2012-08-08 07:08

      Now clever trevor is trying to BS the public. He thinks we are as dumb as he is.

  • bernpm - 2012-08-02 00:26

    Dear Mr Manuel, your plan has disappeared under the radar. Not one official ever refers to it. Trying to sell it to students?? Wishing you luck. The population at large does not seem to trust the current officials any longer.......certainly not with secrets. Let's get the arms deal back on the table, and Shabir Shaik and.......

  • paul.john.790256 - 2012-08-02 01:46

    Shut up Manuel. You've got enough to worry about the arms deal and Barclays.

  • karl.pratt.1 - 2012-08-02 04:55

    Freedom of information is just that..... Freedom to know.....any restrictions takes this freedom away...... Understand what freedom of the people is..... We live in a republic.... With in it is a democracy..... The people say NO..... Now f$@k off.

  • Mike - 2012-08-02 05:43

    Get real Mr Manuel, who are you trying to kid?? We are so used to this type of "smooth speak" from you and your ANC colleagues that it no longer "washes". Go take a hike.

  • tw2066 - 2012-08-02 05:46

    "If you don't care about democracy, why should government care?" - Manual the government doesnt give a hoot about democracy you idiot!! Who votes the president? Not the people, but the ANC!! What is democratic about media sanctions? The government IS the ANC who are allied to the SACP - Communist ....Democratic is the OPPOSITE idiot. And since when are racist rules like AA and BBBEE democratic?? You are free to choose - as long as its not white?? Idiot!! Or are you maybe saying what you need to - due to the ANCs brand of autocratic democracy?? Idiot.

  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-02 06:15

    Trevor, it is very clear that each one of the ANC leadership and other `cadres` are leaders in poverty eradication. Municipalities are embezzling funds like there is no tomorrow; Mayors are acquiring bling-bling cars with fridges so that they can have their Johnny Walker Blue on the rock as they attend those meetings to talk about nothing; your wife Maria earns circa R2Om per annum; you would not return the costly German cars you bought for yourself at the taxpayers' cost; your boss JZ was this close to buying himself a 300 seater jet worth billions, need I go on? How else can I help, being a heavily taxed ordinary citizen who has his own family and extended family to look after with the pittance left after my salary has been shared with the government, play a role in poverty eradication seeing that I'm so squeezed so that you and your comrades can lead the types of life you are leading to eradicate poverty amongst yourselves? Please let me know because I'm willing to continue slicing off my budget to help ANC comrades out of poverty

  • Brad - 2012-08-02 06:49

    I believe that Manuel is gearing up to put his hands into the cookie jar. If the anc go ahead and propose the info bill as it stands, SA will end up much like Somalia. We as normal citizens will have to resort to piracy and crime in order to survive as the government will have robbed and raped the country for everything it has, through nepotism, corruption and policy of deploying cadres, who we all know are only interested in self inrichment.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-08-02 07:14

      I have often wondered how an intelligent man like this could possibly be affiliated with a party that is so patently self serving and seemingly ignorant of even the most basic rules of engagement. I think you're right, he's setting himself up to feed at the trough. Pity, I thought he was better than that.

      Brad - 2012-08-02 09:45

      @Bless. I think he was a better man, but is now tired himself, realising that the anc do not stand for the better of all, but rather for themselves.

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-02 06:56

    Well this comment from Manuel firmly finalizes that he is NOT the missing "John Galt" and never could have been him, as he throws off the skin of the jackal that he has been hiding under for so long and shows that browned face smeered in zuma anc largesse! Possibly a ring leader or mere pawn at the top of the 'Animal Farm' steaming pile only, instead!

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-02 07:03

    In other words, analysis of his interpretations, is that the less than a million member party that is holding SA to ransom for an extended racist period via a rigidly structured small gangster styled inner core NEC related/connected and ARE THE PLAYERS DRIBBLING THE BALL AROUND ALL ON THEIR OWNSOME INSIDE THEIR OWN GOAL, and the bulk of the team of varying races is left outside on the field, fenced away from the goal area altogether and treated as inconsequential chattels and serfs.

  • terence.wessels - 2012-08-02 07:26

    Really Manuel? You want our permission to cover up the cANCer corruption,nepotism and racism? Let me, no. Go away liars.

  • derrico.heus - 2012-08-02 07:45


  • gregory.jurgens - 2012-08-02 08:13

    Do you really expect us to trust this thieving self absorbed government , Their gluttony for public funds is beyond belief. Hope you choke on your next expensive meal while the majority of the people u suppose to serve go hungry.

  • oistar.tutu - 2012-08-02 09:29

    Manual: I don't trust you and I don't like you. You have already proved yourself to be a slimey snake in the grass.

  • markjack.deppe - 2012-08-02 10:04

    Mr Manuel, you know a couple of years ago I had lots of respect for you as a statesman. Your rhetoric now has blemished my thoughts on you. You are part of this government and let's hope that the media again did not quote you wrongly when you uttered this rubbish ''If you don't care about democracy, why should government care'' Is this government including yourself then so stupid not to realise that they are the cause of this mess we are in. You can stand on the rooftop shouting democracy as hard as what you want but if your cronies including you do not even understand democracy how the hell do you expect the people to.?? Now you want to tell us that we need a secrecy bill because other countries has it. This is South Africa Mr Manuel. Our uniqueness lies in our history and how we overcame white minority rule. Just a pity we now have to seriously reconsider voting in another party that cares for the well being of ALL it's people and not a few supposed incompetent cadres who had sufficient time to prove their incompetency to the extent that our housing, hospital, schools, police, judiciary are all in a serious mess. Why not show us some honour. Resign and take the whole ANC with you then and only then will win my respect.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-08-02 10:17

    But Paia has exclusions which are in any case not adhered to specially when a company/person are subpoena'd. We should not say no to the bill, like we should not say no to e-tolling, no to more taxes, no to non-service delivery? must the list go on? We need to involve everybody in taking responsibility. What is your definition of responsibility? We need active citizenship to root out corruption. Active government to root out corruption! If you don't care about democracy, why should government care? If the government does’nt care, why should the man on the street care? All the man on the street hears is how much he must do for his country (we are not america) and all the lies, afterwards, while the "citizen" must carry the costs for the current government's f-ups! All citizens should be active and engaged." All "citizens" are active and engaged, but are not listened to.

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-08-08 06:37

    You have no credibility mate - none. Another anc whore. Your cheering mug for cesorship sickens right thinking people.

  • mlungisi.patrick.9 - 2012-08-10 23:47

    true and very profound!!!

  • mlungisi.patrick.9 - 2012-08-10 23:49

    true and very profound!!!

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