Reject info bill - Press club

2012-12-02 21:04

Johannesburg - The National Press Club on Sunday called on the National Assembly to reject the Protection of State Information Bill next year.

"Members of the National Council of Provinces who voted for the bill recently did so without keeping the Constitution and citizens' hard-fought right to information at heart," the club's chair Antoinette Slabbert said.

She said the club welcomed the amendments made to the Bill but the re-drafted version still carried a threat of jail terms of up to 25 years.

"This smacks of apartheid-like legislation which the country's modern and liberal Constitution does not deserve.

"We call on members of the National Assembly not to pass the Bill it in its current form next year," Slabbert said.

She said passing the Bill in its current form would take it one step closer to a secrecy law.

"The state should not criminalise ordinary people for exercising their right to access information."

The club called on its members to wear their "Black Tuesday" T-shirts on Tuesday as the struggle against the Bill was not over.

ANC MPs in the NCOP ad hoc committee passed the Bill a few days ago.

ANC parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said it was not a media bill and did not "seek to regulate" the media.

Mothapo said it was not about hiding corruption, but about balancing classification of sensitive state information in the interest of national security.

The amended Bill was adopted by 34 votes to 16 and will go back to the National Assembly in the new year, where the ANC majority is likely to pass it.

Opposition parties vowed that if it was passed, they would approach the Constitutional Court to overturn the legislation, a threat also issued by the Right2Know campaign.

  • godfrey.welman - 2012-12-02 21:13

    Sorry to be the bearer on bad new...the ANC MP's follows the pipe-piper, even to their destuction. Only hope is the Constitutional Court.

      PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-12-02 21:36

      @ Godfrey - Pied Piper syndrome indeed. Well coined. If this goes through we need to make ourselves heard in a big way.

      debduplessis - 2012-12-02 21:52

      Motion seconded! We cant afford a silent corrupt government

  • joe.smit.549 - 2012-12-02 21:17

    The Bill will NEVER go through. It's an absolute joke. It will be thrown out of the CC in 5 minutes, and once again, show up the cANCer to be absolute fools. I look forward to them trying to pass it.

      pierre.coetzee.7 - 2012-12-02 21:28

      I hope you are right, if this goes through, it's over for us. Money will dissapear and we wont even know about it.ANC wont care about anything els but their own pockets, as no evidence are alllowed to be made public. Just stick a 'confidential' stamp on the papers and nothing can come of it!! 1

      debduplessis - 2012-12-02 22:51

      dont be so sure... ANC buys everyone off, promises everything & when time comes to deliver they dont cos they already have the sheep's vote!

  • themba.maseko.568 - 2012-12-02 21:24

    This is understandable since media will make less money as they will have less juicy news to report on. Tell us about what is happening in the private sector for a change.

      francoisjacques.malan - 2012-12-02 21:37

      Themba with an attitude like that you deserve to live in a Third World country! Shame on you for trying to keep SA in the Dark Ages!

      joe.smit.549 - 2012-12-02 21:41

      The Private Sector generates it's own income, and does not squander Tax Payers money. Except for the Tenderpreneurs, of course.

      Benjamin - 2012-12-02 21:58

      what a small mind

      bryan.culross - 2012-12-02 21:58

      Do u know what u saying themba? In terms of the new law your home / assets cud be confiscated and then shrouded in secrecy and there wud be nothing that u can do about it! Is this something u wud support?

      martin.brink.965 - 2012-12-02 22:00

      Private sector is creating sustainable and well paid jobs (not) as a result of political decisions taken. That is what private sector used to do. We even used to happily pay our taxes, drive on good roads and know our children were being educated while at school. Our children used to have a future as a result of schooling and would be able to get jobs or create businesses that would employ and train the unschooled. That is part of why we don't trust government anymore, and I haven't touched on the theft by nor incompetence of the majority of government sector. Call centres are now also going overseas as the private sector is realising most people rather cancel their service than deal with a call centre staffed locally, by the way. Unless the locals find decent rolemodels, they will all be redundant. I would hate to have my company represented badly as that is my bread and butter! Absa etc are slowly learning. Sorry if digressed, but government are poor rolemodels as well.

      sizwe.zuma.96 - 2012-12-03 10:31

      everyone is entitled to their opinion so as Themba. it is wrong of us to say he got a small mind or uneducated just beacuse we dont agree with his views on the current subject. so it will be wise for us to help him understand the why we disagree with him. every cion got two sides so as this bill. give him advantages and disadvantages of it. please let be more informative to one another than down talking each other.

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-12-02 21:37

    Total transparency.There are still a lot, of Julian Assange's out there.

  • dewaldt.duplessis.5 - 2012-12-02 21:44

    Screw the ANC government! If the info bill gets passed then the cracken would be unleashed upon them which is us ordinary citizens. We will not allow this! Haven't they learn anything from the mistakes of the NP government? You fools are going down! Bring it on babba!

  • man.zanilla.73 - 2012-12-02 22:23

    THIS SHOULD BE THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES. I am afraid that MANY/MOST people will only realize what happened when we start seeing the fruit of this illegislation. It is just beyond believe that any right thinking person cannot see the purpose of this legislation and the availability and inevitability of abuse. This legislation will only benefit the people instituting it, the ANC leaders and branch delegates re-electing Zuma. All of the aforementioned must hope to somewhere down the line benefit from the corruption that it will hide. A friend of mine said that he is ignoring all the bad news about the corruption and scary tactics of the current ANC government. He said there is nothing that a person can do. The only thing that you get from worrying about is more stress. Can we afford such a view. Most people especially white people feel like they have no say in this country.

      debduplessis - 2012-12-02 22:52

      so true!

  • denise.wilshire - 2012-12-02 22:45

    It is in the interests of the ANC to have this bill passed. There are so many linked areas of duplicity, that if you were to shut the press up and the ability to dig into the different departments which are involved, they would have carte blanche to proceed with their devious plans. This weekend, we heard that the taxpayers have paid for the upgrade to our presidents BROTHERS HOMES! This is not about selling newspapers, but informing the public on just how dishonest our Government is. The fact that Jacob Zuma has a homestead built on King Goodwill's land, is also something which we need to take heed of. The fact that the King spends hundreds and thousands of rands each month on travel was another interesting factor. We need to know of these facts so that we can join the dots and make the right choices when it comes to the vote. This is in our national interest. Without the right to know, we are sliding right past the Apartheid era and into the jungle. It is our Constitutional Right to be informed on all levels as the freedom of the press was enshrined in our Constitution. Our Constitution is sacrosanct, no matter how inconvenient it is to the Government of the day! If the press are lying, then let the Government take them to court for slander! That has yet to happen! You be the judge, just don't be apathetic or patronising towards our leaders, they are not sacred or iconic! Thus far, they have proved to be nothing more than money grubbing, greedy people.

  • megalos.savvas - 2012-12-03 00:57

    'National security' what an exuse are we in danger of another country wanting to declare war on us or what . But let them put the secracy bill its not gonna change anything ,only put a lot of people out of a Job .

  • licini.machado - 2012-12-03 05:01

    National security my ass,they don't even have a functional defense force due to mismanagement.

  • robes.spear - 2012-12-03 05:54

    There should be nothing to classify at a Municipal level - unless they want to cover up the corruption. Phansi ANC, Phansi Zuma!

  • juannepierre - 2012-12-03 06:50

    I assumed everyone would be behind the right to know, but sometimes I think ANC supporters think the party is a religion and follow it blindly. If this was passed we wouldn't know about Nkandla, that shoot to kill guy would still be shooting to kill, Limpopo would never see a textbook again, the mayor of potch would not have been replaced, and marikana would be a myth. But what has the private sector done? Who cares, they are private and not a forerunner for the people the way a government is suppose to operate.

  • samuel.ramaifo - 2012-12-03 07:37

    The only classified sensetive state information is clearly corruption. We are saying not even a chance to protection of state information bill.

  • sipho.mbuyazi.9 - 2012-12-03 08:04

    Its unfortunate that such laws are proposed because the media is seen as over stepping their grounds. The next thing is relook at how the courts are being used to run parliament and empower the minorities which impedes on our democracy just because some people have money. Our constitution need to be revised as well as it doesn't fully address the country's issues except empower a small portion of previously privileged group.

  • saintbruce.bruce - 2012-12-03 11:30

    Mothapo said it was not about hiding corruption, but about balancing classification of sensitive state information in the interest of national security. So why then would his previous boss - Head of State Security / Intelligence services be so OPPOSED to the content of this bill ! Does Ronnie Kasrils'stance have some merit when expressed in terms of exactly what Mothapo says the bill isn't about? Try pulling the other leg!

  • Patsy Smith - 2013-04-25 17:11

    What is the point of South Africa having a Constitution when the government ignores it? Please explain....

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