Secrecy Bill

Secrecy Bill

  • Kasrils Slams the Information Bill

    Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kasrils, has told a group of protestors outside Parliament that there are too many things going wrong in the country for critics of the so-called Info Bill to be silenced.

    Kasrils joined a group of demonstrators from the lobby group Right to Know Campaign (R2K), who are camping outside the parliamentary gates to protest against the Protection of State Information Bill.

    “If we've been associated with the ANC [African National Congress] not to just pretend a loyalty and to grit our teeth and sit on our hands, but to actually have the right to say to the government of the ANC.... this applies to the (SA) Communist Party and the trade unions, that we are worried and we can see our people losing confidence in you.”

    To read the article titled, “Kasrils slams Info Bill,” click here.

    Independent Online
  • R2K Protests Against Secrecy Bill

    The Right2Know (R2K) Campaign has launched its ‘Camp-Out for Openness’, week-long gathering of teach-ins, picketing and screenings, at the gates of Cape Town’s Parliament house.

    R2K national spokesperson, Murray Hunter, points out that, “We will not only be protesting but highlighting the broader struggle against secrecy in South Africa.”

    Hunter says that campaigners will be at the gates of Parliament day and night to ensure that the voices of ordinary citizens who struggle to empower and inform themselves, are heard.

    To read the article titled, “Protesters to picket over Secrecy Bill,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • NGOs Vow to Resist ‘Secrecy Bill’

    Organisations opposed to the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) have vowed to continue resisting the contentious draft legislation.

    Speaking during a protest march in Pretoria, Right2Know (R2K) campaign Gauteng spokesperson, Dale McKinley, said that the ‘flawed’ bill has to be withdrawn.

    McKinley, points out that, "The bill before Parliament is still flawed and has many problems, adding that there are several reasons for opposing the bill, but the main one is the lack of a public interest defence clause and lack of protection for whistle-blowers.

    To read the article titled, “Info bill 'remains draconian, flawed,” click here.


  • Right2Know Statement on Last Night's Secrecy Bill Reversal

     The ANC caucus on the Protection of State Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill) has backtracked on several vital concessions. Though in recent weeks and months the ANC proposed a number of amendments to the Secrecy Bill that were viewed as a major advancement, in last night’s late-night meeting the ANC withdrew several key concessions:
    • Backtracking on ‘Espionage’ clauses. The ruling party reneged on their promise to remove 'minimum sentences' from the Secrecy Bill’s espionage clause 36, thereby forcing the courts to impose mandatory jail sentences of no less than 15 years, and up to 25 years, for offences that are so vaguely drafted that they can still be applied to legitimate acts of whistleblowing and disclosures of classified information that are genuinely in the public interest.
    • Watering down whistleblower protection. Those clauses in the Bill that would have provided at least some protection to whistleblowers have once again been watered down. A section that had been amended to ensure that whistleblowers whose acts were protected by existing whistleblower law, including the Protected Disclosures Act, the Companies Act, and “any other law” has been rewritten so that only the Protected Disclosures Act and Companies Act are given such protection (the reference to “any other law” has been deleted). Thus, a law such as the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which would require a person to report corruption, is now potentially undermined.
    We note that the process of closed-door negotiations between political parties has failed the public: commitments made in secret are easy to break. While many of the amendments announced in recent times were rightfully acknowledged as progressive changes, if they are all to be as short-lived as the two mentioned here, members of the “Secrecy Bill” committee can expect intensified opposition from many quarters of South African society as well as further public protests.

    As we have said many times before, the committee must stop its rush for the door in trying to finalise the Bill by the end of September  - there is too much at stake for all South Africans. We call on its members to heed the voices that have been raised across the breadth and width of our country and to ensure the Bill meets the 7-Point Freedom Test.

    No more broken promises! No secrets! No lies!

    Stop the backroom compromises!

    ### ENDS ###

    For comment please contact:

    R2K Gauteng – Dale McKinley: 072 429 4086

    R2K Western Cape – Nkwame Cedile: 078 227 6008

    R2K KZN – Desmond D’Sa: 083 982 6939

    R2K Eastern Cape – Thembani Zion Onceya: 078 843 7478

    R2K National coordinator – Murray Hunter: 072 672 5468

    For more about the Right2Know Campaign, refer to

    To view other NGO press releases, visit

    Date published: 
    Right2Know Campaign
  • Secrecy Bill: Clash of Laws Looms

    Analysts say the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) has been rewritten to general, qualified relief, but the latest draft still makes for a messy clash of laws on access to state documents.

    The difficulty lies in clause 1(4) of the Secrecy Bill, which seeks to assert its supremacy over any other law that pertains to classified information.

    Critics have long warned that this clause renders the bill unconstitutional because it explicitly seeks to have the new measure trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), which was passed in 2000.

    To read the article titled, “Info bill: Clash of laws looms,” click here.

  • Secrecy Bill Likely Going to ConCourt

    Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, says it would be wise for President Jacob Zuma to refer the controversial Protection of State Information Bill to the Constitutional Court for certification.

    Motlanthe is being quoted as saying that, "We would not hesitate to say to the president 'send it to the Constitutional Court for certification before assenting to it'.”

    The Bill has sparked two years of sustained protest and has resulted in media houses, activists and the Congress of South African Trade Unions threatening to challenge it in the Constitutional Court.

    To read the article titled, “Info bill likely going to ConCourt,” click here.

  • ANC Backtracks on Key Secrecy Bill Clauses

    The African National Congress’ (ANC) concessions on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) have further reduced the threat posed to whistle-blowers and the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

    When the National Council of Provinces's (NCOP) ad hoc committee dealing with the Secrecy Bill resumed its deliberations, the ANC agreed to delete two bitterly contested clauses.

    The intervention was welcomed by activists who oppose the Secrecy Bill, which could make journalists and whistle-blowers vulnerable to prison sentences of up to 25 years.

    To read the article titled, “ANC backtracks on key info Bill clauses,” click here.

    Mail & Guardian
  • Secrecy Bill to Limit Media Freedom

    According to a survey released by market research company, Ipsos, almost half of South Africans say the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) will limit media freedom.

    In a press statement, Ipsos points out that, “Forty-four percent of South Africans believe that the proposed information bill will limit media freedom."

    It says that 13 percent of respondents said the proposed legislation will not limit media freedom, adding that a third – 29 percent - were neutral, and 14 percent of those surveyed had no opinion.

    To read the article titled, “Info bill will limit media freedom - survey,” click here.

  • Tau: No Need to Involve Motlanthe in Secrecy Bill

    Chairperson of the ad hoc committee in the National Council of Provinces, Raseriti Tau, says there is no need for Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, to be involved in the Protection of the State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

    Responding to an accusation by the Democratic Alliance’s Alf Lees, that the state security department is undermining the legislative authority by shooting down amendments to the Bill, Tau moved to defend the department, saying it is the committee that had given the department more time to clarify its position on the Bill.

    Tau, further describes the DA’s move as ‘mischievous and misleading’, points out that, “We do not want to be accused of steam-rolling the Bill. But we agreed we cannot continue postponing the finalisation of the Bill.”

    To read the article titled, “No need for Motlanthe to intervene in standoff over info Bill: Committee head,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • State Security Rejects Secrecy Bill Amendments

    The Department of State Security has disagreed with a swathe of amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) made by the National Council of Provinces’ ad hoc committee.

    Acting director-general in the department, Dennis Dhlomo, who went through the suggestions of the committee and tried to persuade the NCOP that they should not be included in the Bill, says the reason national security was broadly defined is to create the space to respond quickly to developing threats against the state.

    Opposition parties have been using the NCOP stage of the Bill’s passage through Parliament to effect changes. In addition to the inclusion of a limited public interest defence, they sought a tightening of the definition of national security.

    To read the article titled, “Government rejects swathe of amendments to Secrecy Bill,” click here.

    Business Day
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