State Security minister Siyabonga Cwele’s startling claim in Parliament that those protesting against the Protection of State Information Bill were being funded by foreign spies continues to haunt him.
He made the allegation on the day the National Assembly approved the bill in November.
When Cwele this week briefed the National Council of Provinces’ ad hoc committee, now dealing with the bill, the DA member for KwaZulu-Natal, Alf Lees, quoted a newspaper report of his comment.
He asked Cwele if he was referring to the Right2Know campaign – which has organised marches and other protests against the bill – and also wanted to know whether it was the subject of surveillance by the State Security Agency.
Cwele said he had not named any organisation. He told the committee he couldn’t comment on how newspapers had “interpreted or misinterpreted” what he had said and that he would make his speech, and a copy of Hansard, available to Lees.
Lees said on Wednesday the Hansard for the debate on November 16 contradicted Cwele’s “outright denial” that he had labelled domestic opposition to the bill as proxies of foreign spies. “(It) clearly demonstrates that the minister might be confused about his own comments,” he said. - Political Bureau