Right2Know has called many times for MPs to push back against the securocrats who introduced the Secrecy Bill to bolster their own powers, and today’s deliberations suggest that this may be happening at last.
Before today’s deliberations began, about 50 activists gathered in the corridors of Parliament in a silent circle of meditation ,and religious leaders among them offered a prayer that the drafters of the Secrecy Bill heed the voices of ordinary people and address their concerns.
Although many of these concerns have yet to be addressed (see a summary here), the ANC caucus has proposed a few vital amendments – specifically, striking down clause 49 which would have given the Department of State Security even greater powers of secrecy. This is a welcome sign that Parliament is reasserting its role in the process.
However, we note that today’s amendments appear to be the result of closed-door meetings between political parties. No documents have been made public, and even though there is the appearance of progress, there is nothing in writing. It is vital that these deliberations be open and fully transparent. We will continue to fight for a just and constitutional law that promotes declassification and openness over classification and secrecy. On a matter where every small gain has been a result of the continued energies of ordinary people across the country, there can be no backroom deals that exclude the public!
For comment please contact:
R2K Gauteng – Dale McKinley: 072 429 4086
R2K Western Cape – Nkwame Cedile: 078 227 6008
R2K KZN – Desmond D’Sa: 083 982 6939
R2K Eastern Cape – Thembani Zion Onceya: 078 843 7478
R2K National coordinator – Murray Hunter: 072 672 5468