Yesterday, 21 November 2012, members of the NCOP ad hoc committee voted to finalise a Bill that, according to Right2Know
, still carries the fingerprints of the securocrats who have remained the 'hidden hand' behind this process from the start. The ANC used its numerical majority to force the Secrecy Bill
one step closer to becoming a Secrecy Law.
The finalised version of the Secrecy Bill 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 securocrats 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.
Right2Know calls on all supporters of the Campaign to join its candle-lit vigil outside Parliament tonight, Thursday 22 November 2012 from 5:30pm-8pm.