SA Secrecy Bill: Cwele’s Convulsions and Constitutional Challenge

(The Africa Report/Jeune Afrique)--
By Nizar Manek |, 1 December 2011
South Africa’s ruling party State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele on 16 November claimed “foreign spies” have been paying civil society groups to oppose the African National Congress’ (ANC) new Protection of State Information Bill.
 "You won't find foreign spies openly marching in the streets of Cape Town, complaining that we are removing their easy access to our sensitive information, but they will fund their local proxies to defend their illegality", Cwele said in a parliamentary debate, as the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposition stepped up its efforts at filibuster.
That was the opening gambit – soon to coincide with Black Tuesday's 229 ANC majority vote in favour of the controversial bill, which its civil society detractors have labelled the 'secrecy bill'. The bill, which provides a criminal prohibition on the press from publishing classified documents a judge might otherwise deem in the public interest together with prison sentences for whistleblowers, now moves to the National Council of Provinces – the second chamber of parliament – for concurrence. President Jacob Zuma, who would thereafter sign the bill into law, also seems to be 'cleaning out' security officers suspected of opposing his second term, according to a report published by Africa Confidential: 'Some say Zuma is getting ready to deploy the security services against his opponents'.
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