The eleventh-hour pause on Parliament’s vote on the Protection of State Information Bill did not deter some Durban residents and members of the media who on Monday night held a two-hour vigil outside King’s House, President Jacob Zuma’s official residence in Morningside.
The Bill was to have been debated and voted on in the National Assembly this afternoon.
The vigil was organised by the Right2know (R2K) campaign, a grassroots coalition against what has become known as the Secrecy Bill.
R2K convenor, Desmond D’sa, said should the Bill be passed, it would be like throwing away the democracy that many people died for.
“People spent time in jail for the freedom of this country and, if this Bill is passed, it will be taking us right back.
“It should be scrapped. We have to protect our right to freedom,” he said.
“We will not be silenced and we are prepared to go to prison or even die for that,” he said.
Fellow protestor Eric Tate said the day the Bill was passed would be the darkest day in a democratic South Africa.
“We cannot let one regime take away our freedom of speech. We have a right to know what is going on. This hard-earned democracy belongs to all of us and not for just the few."
Azaad Aziz said corruption was now being run like a business and the Bill was aimed at protecting the corrupt.
“It will be abhorrent if this bill is passed because it will show that in fact some things have not changed,” he said.
“Covering up a lot of dirty washing” was how Abe Mei described the Bill.
Mei said all the Bill would do was give corrupt government officials a licence to be corrupt. He said it should be carefully considered as a lot would be at stake if it was passed.