Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
23 November 2011

CASAC statement on Secrecy Bill

MEDIA STATEMENT – POSIB

23 November 2011

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) remains concerned about aspects of the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB) that was passed by the National Assembly yesterday. In particular our concern focuses on the implications of the POSIB for the right to access to information enshrined in section 32 of the Constitution and regulated by the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Many ordinary South Africans and a broad range of civil society organisations have demonstrated their vigilance and expressed their reservations about the POSIB. Whilst the National Assembly has so far failed to heed the calls for a revision of the Bill, we hope that the National Council of Provinces will do so.

Should the POSIB be passed in its current form in the National Council of Provinces, we call on President Zuma not to assent to it and instead to exercise his power and responsibilities under section 79 of the Constitution to refer the matter back to the National Assembly for further consideration. Should the reconsideration by the National Assembly fail to cure the defects in the legislation, we would urge the President to refer the POSIB to the Constitutional Court for a decision on its constitutionality.

This is an important piece of legislation that is necessary to protect legitimate state secrets and to protect the sovereign integrity of our nation. It should not contain elements that undermine the constitutional rights of ordinary people.

Enquiries:

Lawson Naidoo          073 158 5736

Masutane Modjadji   076 937 0825

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