President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: GCIS.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: GCIS.

Ramaphosa still mum on controversial 'secrecy bill'

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Nov 10, 2019

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has been silent on the controversial Protection of State Information Bill.

He has not yet signed the bill into law, six years since it was passed by Parliament despite objections by civil society and opposition parties.

The bill, previously known as the secrecy bill, threatens to jail journalists if they are found in possession of state secrets.

The president’s spokesperson Khusela Diko did not respond to questions on Saturday.

The bill has been gathering dust in the president’s desk since 2013.

Former president Jacob Zuma said before he left office he was still consulting on it.

Opposition parties and civil society have called on the president not to sign it into law.

They said it threatened whistle-blowers and journalists and it violated values of the constitution.

They said they would challenge it in the Constitutional Court if it was assented to by the president.

The bill had even caused Zuma to return it to Parliament and after it was fixed, the national legislature sent it back to him again.

Ramaphosa has not indicated what he will do with the bill.

Opposition parties and civil society were up in arms when Parliament tabled it a few years ago.

Describing it as draconian, they said it endangered the protection of journalists and whistle-blowers.

They said the bill would allow officials to hide corruption and use it against those who expose them.

They said it would make it difficult for journalists to do their work without fear of favour.

This is one of the bills that Ramaphosa has not signed into law since assuming office. 

Political Bureau

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