Quote of the week

The unhappy fact that it is journalists, investigating organs of state and officialdom and the political class and their involvement in corrupt practices to loot the State’s resources, who, by so doing, attract the attention of powerful and influential persons who are capable of suborning the apparatus of the State to smell out their adversaries, cannot be ignored. The examples of abuse of the system have been addressed elsewhere in this judgment. Moreover, the respondents’ perspectives assume that the designated judge is not lied to and is diligent… In my view, in the absence of a rebuttal, this example illustrates a grave vulnerability in RJCA that such an apparent abuse could occur. The common cause examples of blatant lies being told to the designated judge further exacerbates the vulnerability of the system.

Sutherland J
Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others
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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