transparency

Corruption Reports an Encouraging Sign – Berman

According to John-Kane Berman, chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations, there must be a growing number of state employees who are horrified that ‘cry the beloved country’ has become ‘loot the beloved country’.

Berman states that the Protection of State Information Bill, though ostensibly now aimed only at shielding ‘national security’ and not ‘criminal activity’, arises from the desire of the African National Congress (ANC) and its government to stop the leaks.

E-toll Appeal ‘Doomed to Fail’ - OUTA

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says that its their attorney has not yet received any correspondence regarding an appeal.

OUTA, which was granted a court interdict placing the controversial user-pay system on hold pending a full legal review, points out that the time to appeal has expired on 14 May 2012 and that the announcement by the Cabinet was ‘surprising’.

OUTA’s comments follow an announcement by government spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, that the decision to appeal was taken after it only received a copy of the court judgment.

ANC Announces Changes to Secrecy Bill

The African National Congress (ANC) has bowed to pressure on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) proposing a raft of changes in response to sustained criticism of the Bill.

ANC members of the ad hoc committee deliberating the Protection of State Information Bill now say the defence clause they have proposed will ensure journalists and whistle-blowers who disclose classified information revealing criminal activity or corruption will not have to go to court.

Last-Minute Bid to Stop e-Tolling

Civil society, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Democratic Alliance are pulling out all the stops in last minute attempts to have the controversial e-tolling system scrapped.

On one hand, court applications have been filed by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) and Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum. On the other hand, the Democratic Alliance and the COSATU plan to protest in the streets.

Govts at High Risk for Corruption

According to a new study of all 50 statehouses, state governments lack transparency and accountability to citizens, and remain at high risk for corruption.

Caitlin Ginley, a staff writer for the Center for Public Integrity and a project manager on the study, points out that, "In every state, there's room to improve the ethics laws, the level of transparency on government proceedings, the disclosure of information, and - most importantly - the oversight of these laws.”

SANEF Lone Media Voice at Hearings

African National Congress MPs have ruled that eighteen critics will be invited to address hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill later this month, however, only one media body will be heard.

Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee processing the Bill, Raseriti Tau, points out that the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) is the only body that will be allowed to speak on behalf of the fourth estate.

Tau argues that the NCOP does not want to be preoccupied with the media and lose sight of what this bill is about.

Secrecy Bill Battle Likely to Intensify

The bitter battle over the controversial Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) is likely to intensify later this month as several high profile personalities and groups speak publicly on the draft law.

Veteran human rights lawyer, George Bizos, is among those who have been called to make oral presentations on the proposed legislation in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Media Criticised Over Complaints

The Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, has lashed out at some media houses for ignoring complaints about published articles.

Thloloe points out that, "An example of the problems we have with the speed of response is the way The Times ignored correspondence from the Ombudsman's office."

He was referring to an attempt by his office attempted to get the newspaper’s response about a report allegedly biased against the African National Congress, on 12 September 2011 and another from 19 January.

NGO Urges Committee to Take Hearings ‘Seriously’

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) says that given the dire straits in which the Gender Commission finds itself, the parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for the selection of new commissioners has a duty to take the process of public hearings seriously.

OSISA executive director, Sisonke Msimang, points out that the hearings that took place at the end of last week did little to inspire the confidence the commission so badly needs.

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