On 14 November, the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign witnessed a further postponement of the Protection of State Information Bill’s (Secrecy Bill) passage into law following the absence of opposition politicians at the afternoon's meeting of the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee. The R2K Campaign welcomes the decision of the African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MPs) to delay finalisation of the Bill in order to ensure that the Bill's passage is inclusive.
In this spirit we call on the ruling ANC's members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOPs) to consider the letter and spirit of our Constitution and resist the pressures applied by the Department of State Security. We call on the NCOP's ad hoc committee as well as the NCOP Council to fully engage with the submissions made by Right2Know Campaign, Congress of South African Trade Unions, Legal Resources Centre and other progressive organisations and bring this Bill in line with our Constitution. We demand that the widely held and well-articulated concerns of civil society be fully addressed before the Bill becomes law.
Currently, despite its many welcome amendments, the Bill remains an affront to the Constitutional values that thousands of our citizens paid the ultimate price to secure. Among its still considerable flaws, is its lack of a public domain defence that makes spies out of ordinary citizens. Its lack of a public interest defence in specific respect to the Hostile Offences and Espionage leaves these clauses open to abuse by increasingly corrupt elements of our government. The Bill in short, makes secrecy the norm and openness the exception. It should be the other way round.
R2K Campaign therefore supports the delay in finalising the Bill and call on ordinary South Africans to collectively demand that the Bill's finalisation be delayed until parliament fully engages with the demands of the people.
The Right2Know Campaign will be Camping Out For Openness, outside Parliament, day and night, from Monday, 19 November 2012, to demand that MPs act to defend our democracy. We call on all freedom loving South Africans to join us.
Details of the Camp Out for Openness programme are available here.
For information or comment, contact:
Mobile: 084 993 0591
Mobile: 072 429 4086
Mobile: 083 982 6939
R2K Western Cape
Mobile: 078 227 6008
Thembani Zion Onceya
R2K Eastern Cape
Mobile: 078 843 7489
For more about the Right2Know Campaign, refer to www.r2k.org.za.
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.