Service delivery issues overshadow info bill

2012-02-14 18:00

Pretoria - Service delivery problems took centre stage in Mamelodi on Tuesday at a public hearing on the protection of state information bill.

Many residents ignored the agenda of the Parliamentary ad-hoc committee on the bill and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) members constantly had to remind them what the hearing was about.

"Drugs have become common in Mamelodi. We can even go out now with you and show you young children using nyaope [a cocktail of addictive drugs] in the streets," said an emotional elderly woman.

Other speakers blamed local police for turning a blind eye to criminal activities and for soliciting for bribes.

"Our identity documents show that we have voted continually. Our lives are not evident of people enjoying democracy," said another woman, to applause from the floor.

Democratic Alliance member Solly Msimanga spoke about the bill.

He said it significantly undermined what many South Africans died for while fighting apartheid.

"This bill will be widely abused by government departments. We want to be able to know what the government is doing with our money," he said.

"Such draconian laws drove many of our people into exile years ago. We should guard against going back to that era again."

Journalist Elias Maluleke disagreed, and said the bill should be passed without delay.

He and other journalists had worked under harsh conditions during apartheid and the media today could not say its work would be hindered by the bill, he said.

"The media today is operating like a mafia. They are permanently damaging people's lives and hiding behind a public interest clause. Pass that bill in its current form," said Maluleke.

Peter Mothiba, a presenter at the local radio station Mams FM, criticised Parliamentarians for not explaining to communities what the bill aimed to achieve.

"We all know that if anyone is wronged by the media, there are proper channels to sue the publication. What then will this bill aim to protect because we are already protected under common law?" asked Mothiba.

Other participants expressed fears that the bill would give the police and other security agents excessive power.

"This bill will never pass a Constitutional Court review. We have told you that we don't want this bill and if you want to go ahead with your hearings, you are wasting time and resources," said Meeka Masooa.

"Go ahead and pass it if that is what you want, but the Constitutional Court will kick this bill out."

National Press Club (NPC) chairperson Yusuf Abramjee earlier told the gathering that had it not been for the media and whistle-blowers, many instances of corruption would not have been exposed.

He said the bill, if passed in its present form, would lead to wide classification of information.

"The bill in its current form is clearly open to abuse. It provides for wide-ranging powers relating to the classification [of information].

"Officials, including junior civil servants and members of security services, are authorised to classify documents with the head of departments."

Abramjee said this was in conflict with another clause in the bill which stipulated that classification had to be done on a senior level.

He said whistle-blowers were going to be scared "to lift the lid on corruption", fearing long jail terms.

Abramjee appealed to the NCOP to consider including a public interest clause in line with the dictates of the Constitution.

"We cannot sit back and allow unconstitutional laws to be passed. Editors and journalists are prepared to go to jail defending our freedom," he said.

African National Congress veteran Amos Mkhontho said he believed the bill, if passed, would take South Africa backwards.

"Do you still remember those days we used to read newspapers hiding under carpets? We do not want those days to come again. Look at countries like Zimbabwe who have such laws. Their people have fled to our country."

Two public hearings on the so-called secrecy bill are scheduled in Gauteng. The second takes place in Sharpeville, near Vereeniging.

  • Mike - 2012-02-14 18:12

    And yet come next election who is everyone going to vote for again? I do not see any rubbish flying around in Cape Town, I do not see streets falling apart in the Western Cape, and foremost I do not hear a cent of tax payers money being wasted in the Western Cape - why everywhere else?

      Mike - 2012-02-14 18:24

      @ Delusion - please send this to Luthuli House...

      flysouth - 2012-02-14 19:04

      In 1994 it was totally understandable that blacks would shun any 'white' political party and vote for their 'liberators' - this was no surprise at all. But close to 20 years down the line with all that has happened, and been extensively reported (accurately) on, the waste, the nepotism, the incompetence, the corruption, the self-enrichment - in short the sheer and blatant unconcern for their own people, this black government (forget the few whites serving - irrelevant) has demonstrated time and again. that it will do nothing to successfully uplift the poor and deprived of this land. Far from it, this government by it's negligence and mismanagement is actually killing people in hospitals for instance through appalling lack of treatment and supplies - where is the massive tax monies already collected that should pay for medicines, stolen of course! This is ultimately what it means when people talk of 'bad governance' or a 'failed atate' - yes the ultimate result is that innocent people, mainly black people, will die in numerous ways at the hands of their so-called 'liberators'. The fact that black people of this country continue to vote ANC whilst being daily abused by the same party is quite astonishing 20 years on!

      colin.dovey - 2012-02-14 19:08

      @Delusion - your quote is one of the most relevant reminders I have EVER read in these columns! Thanks!

      Mike - 2012-02-14 19:33

      @ Delusion - they don't have a postal service anymore... hehehehehe

      Jean-Marc - 2012-02-14 22:29

      Thats cause you live in a white area you idiot - take a drive through langa and they still use the bucket system there. The DA in the western cape only looks after whites - a sad fact.

      Mattewis - 2012-02-15 10:38

      @Jean-Marc The DA look after the honest people wanting to work, participating in the system, and paying the tax needed to "look after them". Nothing can be for free for ever! Even this cripple democracy where the majority of voters are non tax-paying citizens, is doomed! Somewhere you have to get off your butt, bootstrap, and start educating yourself!

  • Ben - 2012-02-14 18:23

    'The Constitutional Court will kick this bill out' I hope so, but why do you think the judiciary is also under fire? News and courts make corruption difficult.

  • Robert - 2012-02-14 18:25

    ANC - means "Absolutely No Control" - they dont even know how to spell Service Delivery" let alone know what it means or even what has to be done to make something happen. All they want is to Party and spend the tax payers hard earned money. They had it coming !!!

  • Danny - 2012-02-14 18:26

    I still want to see, from Government/ANC, concrete examples of the media's supposed failings that have led to them wanting to enact this bill. They hide behind rhetoric and sweeping generalisations as to why this bill is needed but if they could give the country concise incidents that have led to this we might (or might not) be more sympathetic to what they are trying to do.

  • AyGeewils - 2012-02-14 18:30

    Garbage tends to stick with other rubbish - hiding their mis-goverment under information laws is not gonna work - any more than believing that the 'dim' masses will just carry on being ripped off by non-delivery.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-14 18:37

    The ANC will say : This is a good reason to implement the PIB. All service delivery issues will be classified information. We say : The PIB is encroaching on our freedom and the ANC is the enemy of the people of South Africa.

  • frank.hartry - 2012-02-14 18:49

    The secrecy bill is simply intended to keep secret the rampant theft of taxpayers money by this corrupt ANC led government. Its that simple. The Scorpions were disbanded when the smelly disgraceful politicians were being exposed for corruption. ie the 200 plus members of parliment who were exposed for the 'travelgate' thefts. That money has never been paid back. Then Pikoli was fired because he was exposing corruption by these useless politicians and nowhe media. The ANC knows that the DA and other political parties are ineffective at exposing government corruption and anyway the DA and opposition parties are often just as corrupt. Only the media has exposed the corruption of these SA politicians and the ANC knows that once the bill is finally signed by this man Zuma, the die is cast and the politicians can steal at will. We must prevent that before their greed ignites a revolution North African style.

  • KCorsar - 2012-02-14 18:51

    maybe its time to actually listen to the people and not force an agenda on them - clearly service delivery is more critical than info bill (I am inclined to agree). So STFU and listen to the electorate for once, they have concerns and the power to keep you out of power if you dont listen, t-shirts and lunch boxes at election time isnt going to work forever...............

  • Vegi - 2012-02-14 19:07

    Delusion You are deluded with your racist comment. Now you don't know that people were removed from their lands where they were doing everything for themselves without help from any authorities. You are not aware that your greed is responsible for the inability of the people to be self supporting as they were and are still cramped in tiny plots to provide cheap labour to your cruel suburbs as well as your stinking factories. The idea was to make them unable to do anything for themselves so that they can be mere tools at your disposal. Your stinking attitude is sickening because your greed, cruely and selfishness is responsible for the current state of affairs. You are a fool. I hope this silly moderator who hates the truth does not delete this truthful comment.

      ISO - 2012-02-14 19:12

      We still love you pumpkin vegi, no matter how retarted you are! You are special!

      jayden.nembahe - 2012-02-14 19:32

      Vegi, don't blame the sins of the father on this generations; it is people like you who look backwards instead of looking forward and coming up with solutions for the current era.

      Anthony - 2012-02-14 19:33

      vegi--must be hard for you to watch your brothers stealing you blind

      Mike - 2012-02-14 19:43

      The moderator who hates the truth - aham - you are contradicting yourself here - as in all your comments you agree in having the truth banned...

      Vegi - 2012-02-14 19:44

      Jayden.nembanediot Which generation idiot. The monopoly capital that forced our people into cramped dwellings for cheap labour are still stealing from you today fool but you are too blind to see. The apartheid government was a mere tool of the evil parasites, just like this government which is fully embedded in the pockets of the devil.

      Alex - 2012-02-14 21:29

      Vegi. The comments that are deleted are those that other readers report... Comments that other readers find offensive and do not wish to be subjected to. This democracy is 18 years old. That means that the 18 year olds in this country have grown up with freedom and equal rights. They have been promised access to reasonable housing, education and a decent quality of life. While Rome wasn't built in a day, there has been little improvement to the lives of the poor, and this is not the fault of the disgusting apartheid. South Africans aged 35 have experienced the majority of their lives living in an equal society. It is time to stop blaming the past and for all of us to take our own lives into our hands and make the most of it. No one can improve another's situation, it is up to individuals to improve it themselves. Those who don't are their own oppressor.

      Jean-Marc - 2012-02-14 22:33

      @ Vegi - I really do feel sad for uneducated fools like you. - "racist comment"? and "people were removed from their lands?" On that point you have made, then the zulus should recompensate the xhosas, the shonas and tswanas in the 13th and 14th centuries. Infact, we can take it even further back, perhaps you need to reimburse the khoi and the san tribes? you black colonialists you!! lol. idiot.

  • ISO - 2012-02-14 19:10

    If this legislation is to be passed, we are surely going to go down the dumps!

  • Vegi - 2012-02-14 19:27

    I am not interested in all the other clauses in the Information bill. I am only interested in the clause that we can use to suppress the media. It must be an offence to write defamatory things about a person without getting and publishing his side of the story. Also people of foreign origin who steal indegenous knowledge and medicines to make dangerous concoctions should be imprisoned without the possibility of a parole. When the hearings come to my area I will suggest that such clauses be inserted in the bill.

      Mike - 2012-02-14 19:38

      @ Vegi - why would you want to suppress the media - you are obviously not interested what is going on in day to day life. Only informed people can make an informed judgement.

      AyGeewils - 2012-02-14 19:57

      The problem you have Vegi - is that what you represent and keep crying about in your inimitable vitriol – is not only ridiculous but also not supported by the vast majority of people in this land – do yourself a favour and try selling this communism to the grass roots people. It’s already been tried and failed dismally - so will you and your like.

      bruning.vankriekenbeek - 2012-02-14 21:42

      Vegi: "...people of foreign origin who steal indegenous(sic) knowledge..." Steal Indigenous Knowledge ??? - OMG! lol

  • Abongile Mbauli - 2012-02-14 19:36

    DA supporters will have to wait until the apartheid generation is dead before they win nationals. In the meanwhile without a strong black opposition, ANC will ruling.

  • Abongile Mbauli - 2012-02-14 19:39

    DA supporters will have to wait until the apartheid generation is dead before they win nationals. In the meanwhile without a strong black opposition, ANC will keep ruling.

  • Larry - 2012-02-14 19:44

    I am sure that these people are worried about the Info Bill..not. When will they wake up to themselves and tell the ANC to Voetsek.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-02-14 20:01

    the sad part is that the committee wil tell everybody that they have consulted widely and that the community has gave them the thumbs up so the circus continue and the bill will be adopted and the crooks in goverment will celebrate eisch man these corrupt bastards

  • Lionel - 2012-02-15 11:17

    Join Mobilitate for open and transparent government -

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