Hearings on South African Secrecy Bill to Start

19 January 2012

The National Council of Provinces has announced plans to hold public consultations on the Protection of State Information Bill in all nine provinces.

The NCOP’s 15-member ad hoc committee is considering the bill following its passage in 2011 by the National Assembly. The NCOP’s committee is chaired by Raseriti Tau.

The first hearing is Jan. 31 in the Western Cape, following by hearings in the Eastern Cape on Feb. 2, Free State on Feb. 7, Gauteng on Feb. 14, Limpopo on Feb. 16, North West on Feb. 21, Mpumalanga on Feb. 23, KwaZulu-Natal on Feb. 28 and the Northern Cape on March 1.

Hearings at Parliament are planned for March 13 and 14, to be followed by committee deliberations on the bill.

The Right2Know Coalition opposing the bill, with 400 member groups, is preparing for the hearings, according to media reports, including an article in The Independent.

A Facebook group, No To Secrecy, is organizing overseas protects on Jan 21 in New York, Jan. 28 in Mumbai, Feb. 11 in Perth and Feb. 18 in London.

Cape Town Archbishop Stephen Brislin on Jan. 19 said the “does not serve the interests of the nation and can be used to damage our democracy.”

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