South Africa

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  • 2 March 2017

    South African Coalition Finds Weak Compliance With Law

    Almost half of all requests for information under the South African access to information law are refused, according to a new report by the Access to Information Network. This and other findings point out “a shocking dereliction of duties by public and private bodies to realise South Africans’ constitutional right of access to information,” according […]

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  • 28 April 2016

    South Africa Resists Proposal to Designate Azerbaijan as Inactive OGP Member

    South Africa, the lead co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, is advocating continued diplomatic engagement with Azerbaijan instead of making Azerbaijan an “inactive” OGP member for violating OGP principles, as recommended by an OGP subcommittee, according to OGP officials and informed sources. The OGP Steering Committee is nevertheless expected to declare Azerbaijan inactive on May […]

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News Archive

  • 29 July 2015

    Groups Call Into Question South Africa’s OGP Role

    The South African Right2Know Campaign and several other civil society organization have questioned whether the South African government is qualified to be the next leader of the Open Government Partnership. “We call upon the South African government to either demonstrate a commitment to the realization of a genuine state-civil society partnership that takes the OGP […]

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  • 13 May 2015

    South Africa Sets Stage to Implement Secrecy Law

    The South African government appears to be making plans to implement the so-called Secrecy Bill. President Jacob Zuma has delayed signing the controversial legislation for 18 months, but a recent news report said State Security Minister David Mahlobo has been drafting regulations to implement the Protection of State Information Bill. The report by Andisiwe Makinana […]

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  • 18 February 2015

    South Africa: Not So Transparent After All

    By Candice Bailey The author is a journalist with Corruption Watch. This article first appeared Feb. 16 in The Star. Reprinted with permission. Johannesburg – When the Gauteng High Court granted civil society campaigners Right2Know access to a list of the country’s national key points, the award was lauded as a victory in the battle for […]

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  • 4 February 2015

    Report Scores Compliance With South Africa Access Law

    Government compliance with South Africa’s 15-year-old Promotion of Access to Information Act is in a “sorry state,” according to one summary of a recently released “shadow report” by the PAIA Civil Society Network. “Its findings show that while patterns of compliance are not as dire as has been the case in recent years and there have […]

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  • 22 January 2015

    South African Ministry Drops Appeal Over `Key Points’

    The South African Police Ministry will drop its objections to disclosing a list of National Key Points. A South African court in December gave the ministry 30 days to make public the list of places designated by the government as being of key security importance. (See previous FreedomInfo.org article.) The ministry has decided to withdraw […]

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  • 24 December 2014

    South African Court Orders Release of Key Points Data

    A South African court has given the Ministry of Police 30 days to make public a list of National Key Points, places designated by the government as being of key security importance. The South Gauteng High Court Dec. 1 decision says the government’s justification for withholding these records amounted to “platitudes and a recitation of […]

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  • 2 December 2014

    Environmental Group Wins Appeal in South Africa

    The Supreme Court of Appeal Nov. 26 ordered steel producer ArcelorMittal SA to hand over environmental information to Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), an alliance of five environmental organizations. The unanimous court rebuked ArcelorMittal for its initial handling of the requests for information under the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The court in its […]

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  • 1 October 2014

    Criticisms Mount Against South African Government

    The Right2Know Campaign in South Africa Sept 28 called on President Zuma to refuse to sign the controversial “secrecy bill” that has been on his desk for 316 days and questioned the government’s leadership role in the Open Government Partnership. The Right2Know Campaign also urged Parliament to revoke the apartheid-era 1982 Protection of Information Act and to write a new classification […]

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  • 25 September 2014

    Battling for Right to Know in South Africa

    By Catherine Kennedy and Piers Pigou Kennedy is the Director of the South African History Archive. Pigou is a member of the SAHA board of trustees. This commentary was published first on Sept. 23 in The Mail and Guardian. As information activists around the world mark International Right to Know Day on Sunday, there seems […]

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  • 10 September 2014

    Report Scores South Africa For `Failing’ on Access

    “Access to information mechanisms are failing” in South Africa, according to a new report by the Right2Know Campaign. Using the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) “often proves to be a frustration that is symptomatic of resistance to openness from information holders,” according to “Secret State of the Nation” for 2014. Monitoring indicates “that […]

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  • 20 December 2013

    Compliance With South African Law Found Weak

    Compliance with the South African access to information law has “decreased from the already worryingly low levels of compliance,” according to a new report. The 2013 “shadow report” was issued by the PAIA CSN, the civil society network that monitors the Promotion of Access to Information Act. “Only 16% of information requested was released in full […]

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  • 13 November 2013

    South African Assembly Passes Secrecy Bill

    The South African National Assembly Nov. 12 adopted a revised Protection of State Information Bill. The controversial bill was passed on a vote of 225 to 88. It will now go back to President Jacob Zuma for his signature. In September, Zuma referred the bill back to the assembly, citing two sections of the bill […]

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  • 12 September 2013

    President Zuma Returns Secrecy Bill to Assembly

    South African President Jacob Zuma Sept. 12 referred the controversial Protection of State Information Bill back to the National Assembly to address constitutionality issues.  “It is my opinion that the bill would not pass constitutional muster,” he said. Zuma’s move was welcomed by critics, who see it as another chance to amend the bill, but […]

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  • 11 September 2013

    OGP Issues First IRM Report; South Africa Gets Criticized

    South Africa’s national action plan as a member of the Open Government Partnership has been only partly completed, focused on easy goals and did not adequately involve civil society, according to the report on an independent evaluator. The report is the very first one done under the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism and was prepared by Ralph Mathekga […]

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  • 26 April 2013

    South African Assembly OKs Protection of Information Bill

    South Africa’s National Assembly April 25 approved a modified, but still contentious, Protection of State Information Bill. The bill, three years in the making, passed on a vote of 189-74, with one abstention. Opponents have long indicated that they will test its constitutionality in court and reiterated their intention to do so. “The fight is […]

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  • 23 April 2013

    Amended State Secrecy Bill Nears Passage in South Africa

    A modified version of the Protection of State Information Bill appears on the verge of passing in South Africa. The National Assembly may take up the bill April 25 following the April 22 approval by an ad hoc committee. The committee endorsed amendments made by the other body of parliament, the National Council of Provinces. […]

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  • 20 March 2013

    South African Secrecy Bill Faces Procedural Hurdle

    Opponents of the Protection of State Information Bill in South Africa are hoping to use a procedural complication to thwart action on the controversial bill, according to an article in The Independent. Opposition parties recently asserted that the legislation must revert to square one because it was incorrectly labeled as not affecting provincial governments. The […]

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  • 1 March 2013

    South Africa Sets June Deadline for Secrecy Bill

    Final action on the “secrecy bill” in South Africa has again been delayed. The ad hoc committee of the National Assembly has been given until June 20 to finish its work on the  Protection of State Information Bill, which would regulate the classification of state information. The most recent action on the bill was its […]

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  • 10 December 2012

    South Africa to Create Information Regulator

    A new “Information Regulator” to be created in South Africa will oversee the access to information law as well as a new data protection law, fulfilling a long-running goal of access to information activists. The development comes in the context of data protection legislation approved by the Parliament and expected to be signed into law […]

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  • 6 December 2012

    South Africa: What is the Protection of State Information Bill?

    By Nelago Amadhila Amadhila is a political analyst with the consulting firm Political Analysis South Africa, which published this synopsis on Dec. 6. Reprinted with permission. The ANC drove final amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill through the National Council of Provinces on Thursday 29 November 2012. The amended bill was adopted by […]

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  • 30 November 2012

    South African Panel OKs Protection of Information Bill

    A committee of  South Africa’s lower chamber of Parliament Nov. 29 approved the committee report on the controversial protection of state information bill by a vote of 34-16. The action by the ad hoc committee of the National Council of Provinces came despite protests from opposition member and by protesters in the streets. The amended […]

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  • 23 November 2012

    SA Committee Approves Amended Secrecy Bill

    An ad hoc committee of the South African Parliament has approved the secrecy bill, setting the stage for expected passage the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly in the upcoming weeks. The committee Nov. 21 dropped a controversial provision that would have made the new law override the Promotion of Access to Information […]

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  • 16 November 2012

    Date Set for Committee Action on SA Secrecy Bill

    Nov. 21 could be the date for a South African parliamentary committee to vote on the controversial secrecy bill, which has been revised again with the removal of several previous concessions. The reversals, which have drawn objections from the bill’s critics, would retain certain stiff penalties and drop language guaranteeing that the protection of state information bill […]

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  • 2 November 2012

    South African Minister Opposes Secrecy Bill Changes

    South African State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele Oct. 31 opposed several amendments made to the Protection of State Information Bill that critics have said were improvements to a still flawed bill. He called for the parliamentary committee working on the bill to reinstate a five-year prison sentence for those who disclose classified information. Cwele also […]

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  • 20 September 2012

    Committee in Final Days on South African Secrecy Bill

    Negotiations are entering the final stages as the South African National Council of Provinces Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill continues to work on the the bill. Critics last week charged, however, that the ruling African National Congress backtracked on several promised modifications to the “secrecy bill.” The Committee Secretariat prepared a […]

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  • 7 September 2012

    South African Coalition Says Not to Rush Secrecy Bill

    The RighttoKnow Campaign in South Africa has urged the Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill (NCOP) not to rush action on the secrecy bill and to address seven areas of concern. The Sept. 5 letter acknowledges “the stand the above-mentioned committee has taken against the State Security Agency and other securocratic […]

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  • 29 August 2012

    ANC Makes Concessions Concerning Secrecy Bill

    The ruling African National Congress in South Africa said Aug. 29 that  it would make several concessions concerning the controversial proposed secrecy bill. One change will ensure that the bill will not trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act, a potential outcome considered unconstitutional by critics. The ANC also agreed to drop Section 49, […]

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  • 23 August 2012

    R2K: two years later, crunch-time on the Secrecy Bill

    This statement was issued Aug. 24 by the South African Right to Know campaign. It summarizes RTK’s remaining issues with the secrecy bill. On Wednesday 28 August, the Protection of State Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill) enters the final stages of Parliamentary deliberation.  A recent Parliamentary programme has the Secrecy Bill scheduled to be voted […]

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  • 6 August 2012

    South Africa Yet to Approve OGP National Action Plan

    South Africa, a founding member of the Open Government Partnership and a member of the Steering Committee, has yet to approve its national action plan, the cornerstone commitment document for OGP members. Last September, South African President Jacob Zuma joined leaders from the other eight founding OGP members to announce their action plans in New […]

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  • 30 July 2012

    The South African Secrecy Bill; Taking Stock

    By Caroline Stone Stone is an Advocate, Bar of England and Wales, specialising in public and employment law and was a Legal Resources Centre intern, Cape Town, in the Autumn of 2011. This article has previously been published on Constitutionally Speaking and Legalbrief Today. Progress at last? When two Nobel Laureates, an eminent constitutional lawyer […]

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  • 13 July 2012

    Moody’s Says Secrecy Bill Could Affect SA Credit

    A top official for Moody’s has cautioned that passage of the South African secrecy bill could affect the country’s credit rating. The comments were made in an interview  by Kristin Lindow, Moody’s senior vice-president and regional credit officer for Europe and Africa and subsequently confirmed for FreedomInfo.org by a Moody’s official. Although South Africa’s current […]

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  • 21 June 2012

    South Africa Again Delays Work on Secrecy Bill

    Approval of the controversial South African secrecy bill has been postponed again. With Parliament heading into recess, the National Council of Provinces extended until the end of September the reporting deadline of the committee examining the bill. Recently,, state security officials have objected not only to the bill, but to amendments proposed by members of […]

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  • 15 June 2012

    Work on Secrecy Bill Delayed in South Africa Over Dispute

    Passage of the so-called secrecy bill in South Africa has been delayed amid what observers describe as disagreement within the ruling African National Committee. In addition, more international criticism of this bill surfaced this week. The National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee reviewing the Protection of State Information Bill on June 13 cancelled further […]

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  • 8 June 2012

    South African Security Agency Testifies on Secrecy Bill

    The South African Department of State Security (DSS) on June 6 objected to including a public interest defense in the secrecy bill being considered by  the Ad Hoc Committee on Protection of State Information Bill (NCOP), according to a detailed summary and minutes by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group and media accounts. The DSS expressed concern that the […]

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  • 14 May 2012

    Reception Lukewarm for ANC Compromises on Secrecy Bill

    The ruling African National Congress in South Africa has proposed modifications to the controversial Protection of State Information Bill, but critics say they do not go far enough. The Right2Know Coalition that opposes the “secrecy bill” on May 11 called the ANC proposals “a small but important victory” but added that “the moment for celebration […]

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  • 3 May 2012

    R2K Campaign Objects to Shortened Schedule

    The South African Right2Know coalition May 3 objected to plans by a parliamentary committee to consider the controversial Protection of State Information Bill in two sessions rather than the planned seven. Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, who has opposed the bill before, recently argued that  it sh0ud be “rejected in its entirety” in an article, “South […]

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  • 16 March 2012

    Controversial Witness List Set by South African Committee

    After initially having been excluded from the witness list, the South African Right2Know Coalition has been invited to testify before a legislative committee considering the Protection of State Information bill. The committee relented following objections by opposition party representatives on the panel and added the coalition to the list of 18 witnesses who will give […]

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  • 9 March 2012

    Action on SA Secrecy Bill Delayed Until May

    South Africa’s National Council of Provinces on March 6 agreed to a resolution extending until May 17 the reporting deadline of the ad hoc committee dealing with the Protection of State Information Bill. The ad hoc committee’s initial reporting deadline was April 8. The delay would put off potential adoption, widely expedted, until after the meeting of […]

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  • 2 March 2012

    RIght2Know Campaign in South Africa Issues Report

    This report was prepared by the National Working Group for presentation at the 2012 Right2Know National Summit March 3-4, 2012 in Johannesburg. 1. INTRODUCTION It is a mere 18 months since the launch of the Right2Know Campaign at the end of August 2010 in Cape Town. It a remarkable short period of time our campaign has […]

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  • 19 January 2012

    Hearings on South African Secrecy Bill to Start

    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. […]

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  • 12 December 2011

    CSOs on OGP Board Caution South Africa on Secrecy Bill

    The civil society members of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee Dec. 12 issued a statement critical of South Africa for its current efforts to pass a bill designed to protect government information that has been widely criticized as a “secrecy bill.” A broad South African civil society coalition, the Right2Know Coalition, had urged the […]

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  • 2 December 2011

    OGP to Discuss South Africa Secrecy Law, Other Topics

    What to do about member countries that backslide on transparency will be discussed Dec. 6 by the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee, with the backdrop being South Africa’s plan to adopt what critics call a “secrecy bill.” At least one commentator, with strong links to the OGP, has called on the nine representatives of civil […]

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  • 22 November 2011

    South African Parliament Approves Secrecy Bill

    South Africa’s parliament Nov. 22 voted to approve the Protection of State Information Bill, moving it closer to enactment and to promised court challenges. The ruling African National Conference pushed the “secrecy bill” through on a 229-107 vote despite defections by several ANC members. The ANC rejected calls to change the bill, which now  goes before […]

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  • 16 November 2011

    South African Government Brings POIB Up for Debate

    The South African Parliament on Nov 16 began debate on the controversial protection of information. While government ministers called the measure necessary and not aimed at the media, critics said that the government had failed to consult widely as promised and that the bill’s faults remained. A vote next week is expected with court challenges […]

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  • 22 September 2011

    South African Government Proposes Eight-Part OGP Plan

    South Africa has made eight broad commitments in its Open Government Partnership action plan. South Africa is a founding member of the OGP, officially kicked off in New York City Sept. 20. (See FreedomInfo.org overview.) The 46 countries joining the effort agree to write action plans containing their commitments. The South African plan is less detailed than […]

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  • 19 September 2011

    ANC Postpones POIB Vote to Seek Additional Input

    The ruling African National Congress in South Africa has postponed a planned Sept. 20 vote on the controversial Protection of Information Bill. The bill will be finalized by the end of the year, according to ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, who said the decision was made in order to get more input on the bill. […]

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  • 12 September 2011

    Secrecy Bill: The Stories That Couldn’t Be Told

    By Ilham Rawoot This author is a journalist with the The Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her article was published Sept. 9 in The Mail & Guardian and is reprinted with permission. Once the Protection of Information Bill becomes law, which most likely will be before the end of this year, journalists and members […]

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  • 2 September 2011

    17 Countries Pledge to Join Open Government Partnership

    Nine countries plus the initial core group of eight have pledged to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a U.S. official told FreedomInfo.org  Sept. 2, bringing total membership to 17. The nine countries that have sent in “letters of intent” are Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, Albania, Macedonia, Malta, Georgia, Moldova and Slovakia. More letters are expected, […]

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  • 2 September 2011

    SA Committee Adopts Protection of Information Bill

    A committee of the South African Parliament has passed a Protection of Information Bill. While somewhat toned down from the original proposal offered a year ago, the final version is still considered objectionable by critics and possibly unconstitutional. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The bill now goes to the whole Parliament, where vote before Sept. 15 is expected. […]

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  • 29 August 2011

    South Africa Coalition Critical of POIB as Debate Nears End

    Work on the Protection of Information Bill by the South African parliamentary committee is nearing conclusion, with some compromises being made, but the Right2Know Coalition says the bill “still fails the Freedom Test.” Deliberations are expected to continue this week, beginning with debate on whether to allow a public interest defense, a major coalition demand. […]

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  • 25 August 2011

    OGP Members Begin Work on National Action Plans

    Efforts by the eight conveners of the Open Government Partnership to draft their national “action plans” are slowly emerging, according to a FreedomInfo.org survey. However, in most countries the development of a plan does not appear to involve the wide public consultation called for in the “road map” for OGP aspirants to follow. In the […]

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  • 19 August 2011

    Debate Over Definition Emerges in South Africa

    A new controversy emerged this week in deliberations over the Protection of Information Bill in South Africa as proponents suggested that the key term “national security” in the bill doesn’t need to be defined. “Which means we’d go from an outrageously broad definition (thus open to abuse) to no definition at all (thus inviting abuse […]

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  • 29 July 2011

    South African Panel Renews Deliberations on Secrecy Bill

    Consideration of the controversial Protection of Information Bill (POIB) by a committee of the South African Parliament resumed this week with debate focused on a new definition of national security. The multi-day deliberations this week included an indication that the ruling African National Congress party will “at least consider proposals for extending protection to those […]

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  • 27 June 2011

    Right2Know Welcomes ANC Concessions on POIB

    The Right2Know campaign has welcomed “concessions” from the African National Congress on the Protection of Information bill. One key change would narrow the scope of the bill to apply only to security and intelligence services. Other organs of state could apply for inclusion. Another modification would allow a retired judge to review disputed classification of […]

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  • 24 June 2011

    South Africa Sets New Deadline for Secrecy Bill

    The South African National Assembly has extended until Sept. 23 the deadline for approval of the controversial Protection of Information. The action, as reported in News24, came after an ad hoc committee working on the bill missed its June 24 deadline. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The Right2Know campaign welcomed the action, commenting, “It is clear […]

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  • 10 June 2011

    Date to Vote on Secrecy Bill in South Africa Postponed

    The ruling African National Congress has delayed a planned June 24 vote in Parliament on the proposed Protection of Information Bill in the face of widening opposition. As reported by Brendan Boyle in The Times: The ANC has buckled to pressure from alliance partners and a former cabinet minister and has extended the deadline for […]

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  • 27 May 2011

    South African Secrecy Bill Moving Forward Unchanged

    The ruling party in South Africa this week resisted changes to the proposed Protection of Administration Bill.  The ad hoc committee considering the bill met on May 24 and 26 and voted on amendments. The South Africa Press Association (SAPA) reported: Opposition parties pleaded in vain on Thursday that South Africans were going to rue […]

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  • 22 April 2011

    SA Committee Recesses After Debate on Scope of POIB

    The South African parliamentary committee debated whether the proposed protection of information bill should cover the police and the military before recessing until after the May 18 municipal elections, according to reports on the meeting. “Opposition parties disagreed on whether the bill should apply to police and defence, whose powers to classify information derive from […]

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  • 15 April 2011

    ANC Holding Firm on Secrecy Legislation in South Africa

    The ruling African National Congress in South Africa this week indicated it will not make significant changes to its controversial Protection of Information Bill. “Reading the position paper, it’s clear that the ANC’s position has hardly shifted since the massive public outcry last October,” said Alison Tilley of the Right2Know campaign. Little progress was made […]

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  • 8 April 2011

    Environmentalists Begin Effort to Seek Information in Africa

    A U.S. environmental group and partners in Africa have begun an effort to request environmental-related information from the governments of Ghana, Uganda and South Africa, and hope to find new strategies to promote freedom of information reform. The project was announced by the World Resources Institute in Washington, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in […]

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  • 23 March 2011

    South African Committee Resumes on Secrecy Bill

    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 […]

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  • 18 February 2011

    Tensions Arise Over Protests Against ANC Secrecy Bill

    Masks, a silent protest, a walk-out and rancorous counter-charges marked the week’s activity in South Africa surrounding the controversial Protection of Information Bill. The week ended with criticism of the bill from U2 lead singer Bono. Opposition party committee members charged that the ad hoc committee considering the bill lacked the technical approval to continue […]

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  • 31 January 2011

    South African Panel Gets 60 More Days on POIB

    The ad hoc parliamentary committee working on the Protection of Information Bill has been granted until March 31 to finish its work, officials said Jan. 29. The extension was called too limited by opponents of the bill. The African Christian Democratic Party’s (ACDP) Steve Swart said they need at least another 12 months. “Legislation is […]

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  • 28 January 2011

    South African Committee to Seek Extension of Time

    The South African parliamentary committee working on the controversial Protection of Information Bill will seek more time to work on the legislation, its chairman said this week. Chairman Cecil Burgess said he would ask for an extension of the Jan. 28 deadline. Debate continued in committee Jan. 26 with no amendments being made. The committee […]

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  • 21 January 2011

    South African Parliament Restarts Work on POIB

    A South African Parliament committee in the week of Jan. 17 held three meetings to continue its work on the controversial Protection of Information Bill. The committee is expected to keep deliberating on the measure throughout January, and perhaps longer. Although no concrete steps were taken during the three days of discussion, there was considerable […]

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  • 17 January 2011

    South African Parliament to Resume Work on POIB

    A committee of the South African parliament on Feb. 18 will continue its deliberations on the proposed Protection of Information Bill. Despite the deletion of some controversial provisions, the opposition led by The Right2Know Campaign is seeking further changes to the bill proposed by the government. One continuing concern is the breadth of the definition […]

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  • 26 November 2010

    South Africa to Resume Work on POIB Next Year

    A South African parliamentary committee will resume work in January 2011 on the controversial Protection of Information Bill. Committee chairman Cecil Burgess said members would reconvene in the second week of January to resolve remaining points of contention around the bill, which would provide for the classification of state information and criminalize the disclosure or […]

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  • 12 November 2010

    Work on South African POIB May Not Conclude This Year

    The chairman of the ad hoc committee in the South African parliament working on the controversial Protection of Information Bill has said Parliament will not likely pass the measure this year, according to media accounts. The committee held meetings during the week of Nov.  8 to consider amendments. One report quoted the committee chairman Cecil […]

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  • 9 November 2010

    Summary on the Progress of South Africa’s Protection of Information Bill

    By Mukelani Dimba Dimba is the Deputy Executive Director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre Introduction When the South African government introduced the Protection of Information Bill of 2010 [B 6-2010] to parliament in March 2010 no one would have predicted that such action would trigger mass-based civil society action that some say has not […]

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  • 29 October 2010

    South African Committee Begins Work on POIB

    The committee considering the controversial Protection of Information Bill in South Africa delayed the start of its detailed consideration of the bill over a procedural matter as thousands marched in opposition to the bill. Parliamentary action on the bill is expected to resume Nov. 1. The  “snag” was described in an Oct. 29 by Thabo […]

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  • 22 October 2010

    South African Minister Defends Information Bill

    South Africa’s minister of state security Oct. 22 defended a controversial Protection of Information Bill, urging a parliamentary committee not to include a public interest defense to shelter whistle-blowers who violate state secrecy. The testimony by Siyabonga Cwele came during his second appearance before the ad hoc committee considering the government-backed bill which among other […]

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  • 18 October 2010

    South African Official Softens Stance on Media Regulation

    Improved self-regulation by the South African press might mitigate the need for state media controls, a key government official said Oct. 16. It was not clear whether the apparent softening of position on the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal would extend to the controversial Protection of Information Bill, but there were hints of potential discussions on the […]

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  • 14 October 2010

    POIB Protestors March in Cape Town; Hearing Set

    Opponents to the South African government’s proposed Protection of Information Bill (POIB) law staged a march against it Oct. 12, one of numerous protest events held in advance of a further hearing in parliament on the controversial bill. The rally at the Parliament building in Cape Town was organized by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), […]

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  • 17 September 2010

    Revised POI Bill Still Objectionable, Groups Say

    South Africa’s State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele Sept. 17 proposed a few changes to the controversial Protection of Information bill, but critics called the concessions inadequate. In particular, Cwele said that “broad and vague concepts must be dropped from the body of the bill,” according to a summary of his statement.  “In this regard, the […]

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  • 3 September 2010

    Amendments to POI Possible, South African Official Says

    A spokesman for the South African government said Sept. 2 that the controversial Protection of Information bill will be amended. The comment following a Cabinet meeting came as groups launched a campaign against the proposed law. (See related FreedomInfo.org report.) According to a media account, spokesperson Themba Maseko said the government welcomed the representations received […]

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  • 31 August 2010

    Campaign Kicks Off Against South African FOI Proposal

    Opponents of proposed legislation to scale back the South African Freedom of Information law Aug. 31 issued a civil society statement titled “Let the Truth Be Told! Stop the Secrecy Bill.” More than 180 organizations and 400 prominent individuals such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nadine Gordimer signed the statement, which says, “This Bill fundamentally […]

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