An Update on the ‘Secrecy Bill’

08 Jun 2012

The controversial ‘Secrecy Bill’ continues its beleaguered passage through the legislature. There have been some amendments, in the face of national and international protest against this unconstitutional piece of legislation. For an excellent analysis of why these changes are not enough, do read Caroline Stone’s excellent article:

When two Nobel Laureates, an eminent constitutional lawyer and the Secretary General of COSATU are unified in their stinging criticism of a proposed Bill, perhaps the time has come for a redraft? At last, some 293 condemnatory submissions to the NCOP’s Ad Hoc Committee later, it appears the ANC has finally stirred from its legislative slumber.

In an unexpected volte-face at Committee deliberations last month, the ANC tabled a raft of amendments to the current draft of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill. The most significant proposal is the inclusion of a narrow public interest defence in relation to a Clause 43 charge of unlawful disclosure of classified information. By virtue of this amendment, an accused would also be able to rely on a defence of ‘wrongful classification’, rectifying another major problem with the Bill. Read more