Concluding the Bill
1 Mar 2012
A visit by the ad hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill to Kimberley in the Northern Cape has concluded the committee’s countrywide public hearings.
In what could serve as indication that the public was now more understanding of the Bill, the hearings that were staged at the Galeshewe Recreation Centre were completed in the shortest amount of time since the hearings kicked off four weeks ago.
The Kimberley hearings and those in Kuruman brought the curtain down on a public participation process that has seen the 15-member committee heading to all nine provinces to hear citizens give their views on the Bill.
Short they may have been but the Kimberley hearings also seemed to be marked by the fiercest opposition yet to the Bill, from members of the public.
Residents of the Francis Baard District Municipality reiterated some of the concerns that had cropped up at previous hearings, that the Bill could:
- serve as a cover up for corrupt activities in government
- infringe on citizens’ right to freedom of expression
- hinder provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act
- lead to censorship of the media.
An amendment was proposed on the clause that allows organs of State to delegate to their subordinates, the powers to classify information.
Chairperson of the committee Mr Raseriti Tau, who started the meeting by giving a detailed explanation of the Bill, appreciated the input by citizens of his home province and their participation in the legislative processes.
“As a committee, we listened to all the input and we are going to take this information and consider it when we will be deliberating on the Bill in Parliament. We have had hearings in all provinces and the Northern Cape was the last one. We are going to take all the information and, on the basis of what was said at all the provinces, we will sit and debate all the matters raised,” said Tau.
The committee will hold further public hearings in Parliament on 13 and 14 March. A final report on the Bill will be submitted by the committee to the NCOP on 8 April.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa
1 Mar 2012
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