Secrecy Bill – ANC Delaying Progress

Alf Lees MP

DA Member of the NCOP

Yesterday the Ad Hoc Committee on Protection of State Information Bill met to deliberate on proposed amendments to the Bill.

It was hoped that deliberations yesterday would result in more important amendments being made to the Bill. Instead, the Committee took an hour to get going as the Chair could not decide how to proceed.

Once the Committee started, it was briefed by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor on proposed amendments. The ANC’s amendments were included and suggested amendments from DA and Cope were left as footnotes.

The meeting was largely a non-event with little agreement by the parties on amendments. This cannot continue. Progress needs to be made on the amendments to the Bill to bring it in line with the Constitution and this continues to be stalled by the ANC.

The DA welcomed the steps the ANC had taken last week to make important amendments to the Bill but it seems this was a once-off occasion.

It is essential that the Committee starts showing results, we cannot take one step forward and then two steps back. The lack of progress with addressing concerns of opposition parties and civil society is unacceptable.

The Bill will be debated in the National Council of Provinces in a few weeks and it is essential that opposition parties’ amendments are given due attention and that this process is not stalled. The DA will not accept a Bill which is not in line with concerns raised by it and by civil society as well as being in line with the Constitution.

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