Picture: Khumbuzile Mbuqe

Various civil society groups met outside the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) to call for transparent governance, to defend media freedom and to oppose the amendment to the eThekwini Municipality's Rules of Order which, if passed, will bar the media and public from participating in council meetings.

Numerous civil society groups like Right2Know, Ubunye bamaHostela and Active Citizens Movement gathered outside the ICC on Wednesday morning to do a placard demonstration during this week's council meeting. 

READ: Protest in Durban over new ‘secrecy rules’ for council meetings

The group was met Metro Police and SAPS officers who advised them vacate the premises as picketing laws did not permit them to picket in the area.

Active Citizens Movement, Ben Madokwe said: “If this secrecy bill is passed, it will mean we as a society have regressed back to an oppressive, unconstitutional regime similar to that of the apartheid era. Furthermore this bill is not for the benefit of the citizens of eThekwini but to protect corrupt municipal officials."

Thirty civil rights groups were represented, with hostel dwellers forming the bulk of the group.

Activist Desmond D’sa said: “They are implementing the apartheid legislation to block journalists and all from reporting and speaking out, we are out here to speak out against this issue of secrecy. They want  to undermine the constitution.”

Read more in tomorrow's The Mercury

The Mercury