Coalition announced against info bill
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Durban - Ten political parties have formed a coalition against the Protection of State Information Bill.
The parties held a joint opposition party meeting at the Pinetown Civic Hall on Friday, where they agreed that the ruling ANC party was seeking to protect its own corruption by implementing the bill.
Speaking at a hall that was packed with members from the different parties, the DA’s parliamentary, leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, said they were all fighting against a common threat and they were united in their determination to defeat the attack on the constitution.
“The character of our free society is in mortal danger. The secrecy bill, if passed, will tear apart the values and principles of our constitution. There are times in the life of a country to put aside politics-as-usual. Such a moment is upon is. We dare not fail,” she said.
Mazibuko said the bill proposed to criminalise the freedoms that so many people had fought for.
She said SA’s history had shown that freedom must be fought for every day.
“When power makes our leaders arrogant, free speech reminds them of their limitations. When freedom and free speech are snuffed out, corruption spreads under the cover of darkness.
“Free speech and [an] open society are what will enable us to stand up to autocrats and despots. As long as there are South Africans who love the constitution, we will fight against the ANC’s corruption,” she said.
Mazibuko said the bill would hide the truth about the scale of corruption in our national life.
“It allows for the Zumas and Malemas of this world to hang on to power for their own enrichment, at the expense of the millions of poor, unemployed South Africans who have nothing,” Mazibuko said.
She said the parties represented at the meeting had fought the passage of a bill that would silence whistleblowers.
Mazibuko said the bill remained unconstitutional, and if it was passed into law in its current form, they would petition the president to refer it back to Parliament.
“If that fails I will invoke section 80 of the constitution and lead a petition of opposition parties to the Constitutional Court to prevent this law from being passed unchanged,” she said.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said everyone had opposed the bill, from former ministers to NGOs, from traditional leaders to Cosatu, from churches to the media.
“Without exception, South Africa has rejected what we now call the ‘Secrecy Bill’. But it still stands. How is it possible that Parliament is about to pass legislation that the whole country has rejected?” he said.
Buthelezi said democracy was about Parliament expressing the will of the people. He asked why, then, Parliament was adopting a law that people did not want. - Daily News