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ANC eases up on Info Bill

The ANC has announced further concessions on the controversial Protection of State information Bill.

When the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee dealing with the bill resumed its deliberations on Wednesday, the ruling party agreed to delete two bitterly contested clauses.

(File photo) A man shouts his objections during a protest against the Protection of State Information Bill outside Parliament in Cape Town. Credit: Associated Press

The first was the provision that the bill would trump the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia).

The second concession was the removal of strict penalties for disclosing any state security matter.

The Paia clause was strongly criticised by the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), among others, as being unconstitutional.

The second concern was that the country could be turned into a “security state”.

Political parties in Parliament have spent the past few weeks in private discussions in an effort to reach consensus on the bill.

Wednesday's meeting was the first since August 7, when committee chairman Raseriti Tau adjourned proceedings, saying the process of party-to-party engagements would continue in an attempt to try and reach agreement.

“We're not that far apart and that's a good sign,” he said at the time.

The committee has a deadline of September 30 to consider proposed amendments, before having to report on the bill to the NCOP. - Sapa

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