Soweto protesters oppose info bill

2011-11-22 11:33

Johannesburg - A group of Soweto residents who gathered outside the Hector Pieterson Square in Orlando West on Tuesday, described the protection of state information bill as a "violation" of their rights.

The residents, dressed in red, and some in black T-shirts, are demonstrating against the expected voting of the bill in the National Assembly later on Tuesday.

They said it would violate their right to know the business of a government they personally voted in.

The group is part of a nationwide campaign by organisations such as Right2Know who are opposed to the bill.


Mapule Mabuya, 64, said she wanted government to do the right thing, and be transparent.

"When they want votes to stay in power they come to us, but when they have to be transparent they don't want to hear anything from us," she said.

Henry Moeti, 35, echoed Mabuya's sentiments and added: "I have the right to know what is happening in the government I voted for.

"If that right is taken away it means South African citizens will not hear about incidents such as the recent one involving the president's spokesman Mac Maharaj," he said.

"The man is the president's spokesman and surely he has shared details of what happened, and if he received a bribe or not, and the president is keeping this information as secret.

"The community needs to know that they have the right to know these details because we voted for the current government," Moeti said.

Another resident, Windy Leburu, 28, said residents only got information when there was a conflict resulting from decisions taken without them being consulted.

"A perfect example would be the electricity issue where people are paying exorbitant bills and the elderly are targeted [for] prepaid meters," she said.

"Elderly people were made to sign documents under the guise that Eskom was coming to fix old connections, when in fact they were for the installation of prepaid meters," she said.

Leburu said governing councillors failed to inform residents about the Eskom move.

"There is no way that these councillors were not informed about the installation of prepaid [meters], but they chose not to inform us beforehand," she said.

Struggle songs

The group, which gathered early on Tuesday morning, continued singing struggle songs about freedom and rights.

Some wore tape over their mouths, while others distributed flyers to passing motorists to explain what the community could do to protest against the bill.

Tourists visiting the Hector Pieterson square also seemed interested in the demonstration, leading one of the demonstrators to approach them and hand them some flyers which they read with interest.

One French tourist said South Africa needed to lead as an example of a democratic country, and support free access to information.

A Right2Know organiser, Raashied Galant, said: "People needed to understand the anti-bill campaign and the need for them to have access to information."

Protests are underway in other parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg, Pretoria and Parliament.

The National Assembly is expected to vote on the bill at 14:00.

- Are you protesting? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos

  • Vince.York - 2011-11-22 11:40

    Do we already get 15 years for finding out for example if "Mzilikazi wa Afrika" is still alive and free for attempting to preserve the most common rights of citizens "freedom to access information" as is the "right to water". Really BLACK TUESDAY.

      ArnoNico - 2011-11-22 11:56

      As you have a "right to water" and not "a right to clean water" you will still have a "freedom to access information" but not "freedom to access true information"

      Flowingriver - 2011-11-22 13:12

      Our people are quite happy with the half loaf the ANC is giving them. B4 we we got none. Is it not half loaf better than none... that is why we support and continue to do so ANC. Viva comrades Viva

      Vagav - 2011-11-22 14:14

      @FlowingRiver: Not when they put poison in your half-loaf of bread!

  • Bardy - 2011-11-22 11:43

    Actually, I want the bill to pass. More ANC supporters coming to the DA! Viva!!! I love this country!

      marinacroukamp - 2011-11-22 11:56

      This is not about a political party, this is about your rights being taken away.

      StarStruck - 2011-11-22 11:56

      The DA is surprisingly silent on the issue. I would actually like to hear their view on this matter. Never mind maybe they have actual work to instead of wasting time voting.

      Bardy - 2011-11-22 11:59

      @ marinacroukamp - I know. But look at the bright side of this... The ANC is chasing away more and more of their supporters with their idiocy! Blessing is disguise?

      ArnoNico - 2011-11-22 12:07

      What if the election results are deemed confidential?

      Sganja - 2011-11-22 12:07

      I'm also not joining DA...

      Angelo - 2011-11-22 12:30

      @berni.venter a two thirds majority is only required for changes to the constitution they can pass this bill with 50%+1 @Bardy this issue is bigger then party politicking its a continued attack on our moral fibre... The Poorest of the poor who the ANC claim they represent will carry the brunt of the ill effects of this bill. Corruption will thrive in goverment departments who has a mandate to serve and deliver services to all communities

      Travis - 2011-11-22 12:30

      At this rate ANC are going to lose a large percentage of their sheep, which is a good thing at least.

      Bardy - 2011-11-22 12:43

      @ Angelo - And then? What do you think will happen? Do you think the people will stand for this? The ANC is a disaster waiting to happen! I foresee a change in the ruling party of SA in the 2013 elections. Just you watch! Everybody (black included)is getting more and more sick and tired of this circus of a party.

  • Harry Meyerowitz - 2011-11-22 11:49

    So they want to follow in Zimbabwe's footsteps, we all know what happened there.

      Jerhone - 2011-11-22 12:12

      for poepol donkey, for f*ck sake i'm ALSO wearing black, in your face you ZOMBIE

  • Marion - 2011-11-22 11:50

    I'm wearing black. Happy to see that people from all walks of life are supporting this protest. I'm wearing black.

      Travis - 2011-11-22 12:24

      Trolling for the ANC? Chops!!

      Travis - 2011-11-22 12:53

      I see Poloyatonki has retracted his statements....having second thoughts?

  • ArnoNico - 2011-11-22 11:53

    For those of you at work make your Facebook profile black in protest, it makes a huge impact!

      Nyiks11 - 2011-11-22 12:32

      mine is black by default

      brendan.beech - 2011-11-22 13:06

      @mgayi - lol

  • JacquesJ - 2011-11-22 11:54

    maybe the anc should ask their supporters if they support this bill? me thinks that would be the end of the proposed bill

      Sganja - 2011-11-22 12:00

      Yes now you are talking Mrs Jones,maybe things can be reversed.

      Stephen - 2011-11-22 12:40

      They ANC don't ask there supporters what they think, they tell them what to think.

  • Simon - 2011-11-22 11:58

    And I thought this was a democratic country

  • Simon - 2011-11-22 11:59

    And I thought this was a democratic country

  • NickinHowick - 2011-11-22 11:59

    Stating the obvious ,this is part of an ANC plot to remain in power, keep your voters in the dark,uninformed are they will remain gullible enough to believe the promises that will never be delivered.

  • Vicker - 2011-11-22 12:01

    Aahhh - the penny she is finally dropping...Did you hear that too ANC Gumment??? Time to start finalising your exit plans...

  • Shirley - 2011-11-22 12:02

    Glad to see that sense prevails and people are starting to realise the empty promises government make when they need your vote ! Now they have to rethink their next elction. People in S.A.give their vote away far too cheaply!!!

  • Simon - 2011-11-22 12:04

    @ArnoNico : How do you make your fb profile black , please explain

      jjlambrechts - 2011-11-22 12:33

      Create a black picture in Paint and upload

  • Garysyd705 - 2011-11-22 12:05


  • J.D. - 2011-11-22 12:14

    whooopaaa this is great news from soweto. keep it up

  • Hallo - 2011-11-22 12:14

    The media is abusing it's platform to push their agenda, which is to take no responsibility whether or not they report the correct facts. Too often the media splash front page stories which later turn out to be false. They then publish retractions somewhere in the middle pages. They cried wolf once too often. The proposed info bill is the consequence of their wrongful actions. We the public should stand up not only against censorship but against the bad reporting that causes many of the divisions in this country. People, this is the only reason the media is pushing this. Down with the lying media houses and corrupt journo's!!!

      djmain1 - 2011-11-22 12:33

      Hallllooooo- wake up!! This has MUCH further implications than just muzzling the media! This will allow corruption to thrive unhindered - and we have WAY too much of that already. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

      Hallo - 2011-11-22 12:36

      Did you read the bill? Or is that what the media fed you?

      jody.beggs - 2011-11-22 12:51

      @Hallo did you read the bill ? Are you a corrupt official milking the Tax Payers ? Or are you just confused ? There is only one reason to blindly follow , your head is too far up someone a#se !

      djmain1 - 2011-11-22 12:52

      No - I haven't read the bill and much of what I know of it comes from other sources eg. the media, COSATU, Archbishop Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils (amongst others). We are moving back to the bad days - can't you see it? I do know that there is no "public interest" defense clause and cannot understand why not. Surely that is the crux - we have a right to know what our government is up to. Why would they want to hide that? The excuses they have come up with are laughable - foreign spies, media wanting to undermine state security etc. Ludicrous! Despite what the cANCer says, we know them well enough not to trust them when they they say they would JNEVER use the bill in the ways people have highlighted it could potetntially be used. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!

      Hallo - 2011-11-22 13:00

      @jody.tbags Very well thought out argument there, media whore.

      Hallo - 2011-11-22 13:05

      @djmain - Oh so you are feeding off the media speculation and what MAY happen and how this bill MIGHT be abused. Fact is - journo's don't want to suffer the repercussions of publishing sensationalist stories that turn out to be lies. We are all falling for their Black Tuesday BS!

      jody.beggs - 2011-11-22 13:26

      @Hallo I take it I hit a nerve , who's a#se are you stuck in ? If you give me some of the money you stole from tax payers I might treat you better !

      Hallo - 2011-11-22 13:51

      @jody - you hit my don't Debate with a kid nerve yes.

      Vagav - 2011-11-22 14:23

      @Hallo: I don't understand your logic. If the bill is to prevent Media from making up stories that aren't true, what has that got to do with government classifying information? If information is inaccurate, untrue, unvalidated or just plain wrong, there is no need to classify it. Why not put in penalties for Media houses that are found to be disseminating wrong information. So what about real information that shows wrong-doing, that's what the government is trying to protect so they can keep stealing taxpayer money, or maybe even worse...we'll never know, will we? Your whole argument is wrong from the very outset. I hope they come for you first...we'll never know will we?

  • Travis - 2011-11-22 12:20

    Don't piss on SA and call it rain!! There is no need for this act, in fact this is the exact opposite to what SA needs. I want goddamn transparency in government, I don't want the wool pulled over my eyes while the ANC enriches themselves. ANC never fail to digust me!

  • djmain1 - 2011-11-22 12:29

    @poly & sganja - there are some people the DA just don't want.

  • sandie.vahl - 2011-11-22 12:32

    Unfortunately the ANC is following the same fascist path as giants like the USA and UK, and the Constitutional Court is now headed by someone who will protect and further part interests and not the Constitution.

  • kritzinger - 2011-11-22 12:34

    It's refreshing to see blacks and whites shouting from the same side of the fence for a change!

      Vicker - 2011-11-22 12:38

      I agree - I hope the Gumment can put 2 and 2 together and realise there is only so much sh1t we will take...Once we all stand together they will be history...

      kritzinger - 2011-11-22 12:40

      Indeed. This is the kind of thing SA desperately needs...

  • Shirley - 2011-11-22 12:37

    Can someone tell me why after years of so called "freedom" and "democracy" people are still dumb[yes DUMB!] enough to risk the economic,cultural and future freedom of S.A. by making this bill a race issue. We hear struggle hero,freedom fighter,champion of democracy,uplifter of the poor,equalising gender and race etc but if this bill passes none of those words or titles are relevant. In this country everyone has their own agenda and its every man/woman for himself. Ancyl talks about their "struggle history"-news flash that is/was a wasted cause. Who has actually sat down and thought for more than 5 minutes what this means???Votes in this country are bought for a bag of mielie meal and mouthful of promises. I would think that black people in S.A would be the first to protest this bill as they are the ones who have the most to lose! Every corrupt politician who will be saved by this bill is taking away the next generations future and making a mockery of everybody who fought for equality in the past. When are the IDIOTS who are turning this into a racial issue going to realise that they are by default as guilty as the corrupt!The privalage of voting is supposed to followed by logic,common sense and ufliftment for all society!

  • Monique - 2011-11-22 12:46

    Bye Bye Carte's been real and thanks for a job well done!

  • Missionman - 2011-11-22 12:51

    These people proberly voted the ANC into power - now they see the true colours of the ANC and I wonder if they will now realise that we need much stronger opossition to the ruling party to keep them in line. Vote for anything else just to create opposition....Next time ?????

      Vagav - 2011-11-22 14:26

      They'll probably take away your vote next...and not tell you about it!! Eish...tata ma secret!

  • Milano - 2011-11-22 13:01

    We do not want it,i will support any uprising to hell with crooks

  • xmanganyi - 2011-11-22 13:02

    Yes I am protesting, Crime will ever pay in SA if I don't protest. is this the Govenment of the poeple by the people or the Govenment of the peolpe by the Person or individual. It is not the Govenment that says Infor Bill but ANC. they are changing all the good things we had. they want us not to see them while their bad practices. Public Inforation can not be hidden but can be shielded trhat it could not be damaged.

  • Lordwick - 2011-11-22 13:05

    Everyone does what might look like mistake in your eyes meanwhile not.VIVA ANC VIVA!!!!!

      Silvana - 2011-11-22 15:37

      @Lordwick. Are you sure there's a "W" in your name?

  • Anton - 2011-11-22 13:22

    Very glad to see Soweto protesting. Hopefully the ANC support is being cut greatly by these senseless notions they have.

  • Nosiphom - 2011-11-22 13:28

    They say according to section 19 of the Bill, if anyone wants a document to be declassified, because he knows of wrongdoing being concealed, he can apply to the organ of state or even the court to have the document classified. By implecation you would be in possesstion of the document to know its contents or someone would have leaked the contents to you, making you already guilty of stealing the information - how clever!

  • Tendani - 2011-11-22 13:30

    I can see many of you are fed up with the ANC, but let me tell you something. The ANC led government gave evry person, organisation and association a chance to comment on the bill before it is tabled to parliament. But no ONE (including the media)submitted any comment. This piece of legislation will replace the apartheid legislation which today is still in place and far worse than Info Bill. The media never protested for the apartheid legislation to be scraped. This is how the hypocrise is our media. If you read the bill carefully none of the media right is taken away. The newspapers will still uncover corruption. Western countries which our media portray as role models have even worse legislation than ours. Do you remember what the USA and Great Britain did to Wikileaks boss? No media complained about that. Do you remember what Great Britain did when the youth protest? they in fact gagged twitter and facebook. Please people do not have two faces when it come to our own country. ANC WILL RULE AND IT WILL PASS LAWS WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. GO TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT YOU WILL SEE THAT WE HAVE ALREADY SORT IT OUT IN OUR FAVOUR. THIS A LOOOOOOOSIIING BATTLE FOR BROWN ENVELOPES EDITORS.

      Elle-Black - 2011-11-22 13:37

      Tendani Please even Nelson Mandela sees the problem with this bill people like you refuse to see fault with the ANC,they could kill your family tommorow and you would find justification

      Vagav - 2011-11-22 14:29

      @Tendani: Actually a LOT of people commented on it and protested against it, and continue to protest against it. I think you will find quite a bit of that protest on this website. However, the ANC seemed to have said..."Ok, well thanks for the comments, but we really don't care what you think and are going to pass it anyway."

      otto.saayman - 2011-11-22 15:00

      First of all: I question your comment that the bill was not opposed in parliament. Either way this is a totalitarian attempt to stifle opposition and displays a lack of respect for our democracy. Second: Yes, other countries have worse laws. That is why we are so proud of our constitution making us the only true democracy in the world. God help us all if it does not save us from this situation. Thirdly: It may be a loosing battle for non-ANC supporters in the short term, but we will prevail. Freedom will always prevail over dictatorship. Freedom is something for which many millions of people have fought and died for. Freedom is an idea that can not be stopped and it is something that many people are still and will always be prepared to fight and die for. And in closing: If you support the ANC you deserve the ANC government. Some day you will eat your badly chosen words.

  • Vagav - 2011-11-22 14:13

    @Flowingriver: Not when they put poison in your half-loaf of bread.

  • Msholozi - 2011-11-22 14:45

    how much is the da paying these people

  • otto.saayman - 2011-11-22 14:50

    Finally ANC voters will be made to pay for their ignorance. Soon you will all know the meaning of the word oppression. Apartheid was a picnic compared to this betrayal by your own "comrades".

  • Karabo - 2011-11-22 15:13

    The government has no right to do that to people, firstly they don't delivery to the people, they are all talk and when it is time to do they don't do it. Yet they have the guts to do things behind peoples backs and without letting them know of the prepaid meters. Why is that with most of the things they do they are not straight? I mean people have the right to know what is happening around them, they need to know where they are going and all changes that will occure which will obviously affect them. I don't think anyone wants to be suprised when it comes how they will be living.If There are any service delivery issues that need to be reported like the ones in the article, don't hesitate to contact Mobilitate Free registration and let us here what issues you are facing in your communities. lets your voice be heard.

  • Silvana - 2011-11-22 15:27

    I wish news24 would be more specific in their reporting. The number of people protesting would indicate how impactful the protest is.

  • sefeddt - 2011-11-22 20:41

    I would assume that these protester's will be investigated by Cele, as according to him those opposed to the bill are foreign agents.

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