South African Committee Resumes on Secrecy Bill

23 March 2011

After a two-month procedural delay, the South African parliament has cleared the way for a committee to resume work on the contested Protection of Information Bill.

The parliament set a deadline of June 24 for the ad hoc committee to complete its work.

In January, opposition party members balked at continuing deliberations without standard procedures being established to renew the committee’s mandate, which had expired Jan. 28. (See previous report.)

The first meeting in many weeks was held March 22, and sessions are planned for next week, but a report in The Times observed that “its work is likley to be squeezed by breaks to accommmodate the May 18 local government elections and by debates on the many individual departmental budget votes, which will begin after the Easter recess.”

Looking ahead, Right2Know national coordinator Murray Hunter, was quoted as saying, “We can expect three more months of nothing as the problems with the bill are too deep.” He called for Parliament to propose a fresh bill and hold public consultations.

A report on the recent Right2Know national summit can be found here.

Tinashe Njanji has been selected as the new national administrator of the R2K coalition. 

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