Late last night in Parliament the African National Congress (ANC) used its numerical majority to force the Secrecy Bill one step closer to becoming a Secrecy Law.
Members of the NCOP ad hoc committee voted to finalise a Bill that still carries the fingerprints of the securocats who have remained the 'hidden hand' behind this process from the start.The finalised version criminalises the public for possessing information that has already been leaked, protects Apartheid-era secrets, and still contains broad definitions of National Security that will in all likelihood be used to suppress legitimate disclosures in the public interest. In short, the Secrecy Bill remains a clear threat to South Africa's right to know.
Yesterday's amendments that ensure the Bill will not trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act and introduce tighter - but still only partial - protection for whistleblowers come as little comfort as members of the ANC have evidently relented to pressure from the securocats and seem determined to suppress any further debate on the matter.
The Right2Know Campaign remains committed to fighting for a just classification law that governs how the State should keeps very limited secrets. The Secrecy Bill remains a threat to our democracy and we will continue our campaign to Stop the Secrecy Bill as the ANC pushes it through the NCOP and National Assembly. If Parliament fails to introduce the necessary amendments and President Zuma signs it into law, the Rigth2Know will take the fight to the Constitutional Court.
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Note to editors: There will be a Right2Know candlelight vigil outside Parliament tonight, from 18h00 and further vigils next week in Johannesburg and Durban. NCOP is scheduled to vote on the Bill on 29 November 2012 and the NAtional Assembly will likely pass the Bill in Early 2013. Then the Bill will go to President Zuma who may sign it into law.
R2K Spokesperson – Murray Hunter: 072 672 5468
R2K Gauteng – Dale McKinley: 072 429 4086
R2K Western Cape – Nkwame Cedile: 078 227 6008
R2K KZN – Desmond D’Sa: 083 982 6939
Thursday, 22 November, 2012