Cape Twon 271010 Alan Storey satnds in front of paliment protesting agains the Secrecy Bill. Close to 500 people marched to Parliment as part of the Right To Know Campaign to stop the Secrecy Bill. picture : neil baynes

The Protection of State Information Bill will lead to more service delivery protests and corruption, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) warned on Friday.

The bill would affect the poor grass roots communities more than the media, Samwu spokesman Tahir Sema said.

“(President) Jacob Zuma said during his election campaign walkabouts in poor communities he now understood what the service delivery protests were really about.

“Our people become most frustrated and angry when the information that should have been made available to them to make informed decisions was denied or hidden away from them,” Sema added in a statement.

Those engaged in the hundreds of service delivery protests that continued to take place every year “state time and time again” that an absence of information about the services they should be receiving and the abuse of ratepayers' money fuelled their anger more than anything else.

If the bill was passed in its current form there were likely to be more service delivery protests, not less.

“There is likely to be more corruption not less, and there is likely to be more disenchantment with our democratic society and its institutions.”

This was bad news for the still fledgling democracy and for accountable and responsive local government.

Society, especially grass roots communities, needed more empowering information, not less.

The poor grass roots communities would suffer dearly if the so-called secrecy bill became law.

“There would be no way to demand the service delivery and corruption-free local government that we all deserve,” Sema said. - Sapa