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DA: Statement by David Maynier, Democratic Alliance member of the ad hoc committee on the Protection of Information Bill, on Minister Cwele’s response to public submissions on the Bill (22/10/2010)

22nd October 2010

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele, missed an important opportunity to make positive proposals, in response to public submissions, on the Protection of Information Bill.

The minister this morning appeared before Parliament to respond to public submissions on the Protection of Information Bill. However, rather than making positive proposals in response to the public submissions, the minister defended the more draconian features of the bill.

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Most importantly, the minister refused to concede that a "public interest defence" was necessary in the Protection of Information Bill. He regarded a public interest defence as being "tantamount to shredding the bill" and "simply reckless". Moreover, the minister bizarrely refused to concede that the bill has any implication for the freedom of the press.

The minister, it seems, simply does not get that fact that the Protection of Information Bill, in its current form, poses a "clear and present danger" to the freedom of the press in South Africa.

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The DA will therefore fight hard in parliament to "de-fang" the legislation with the inclusion of a public interest defence clause in the bill.

 

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