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Thu Oct 23 07:56:27 SAST 2014

Democrats will halt birth of secrecy beast, minister: iLIVE

Mzukisi Gaba, Cape Town | 02 November, 2012 00:05
SIYABONGA CWELE. File photo.

Briefing the National Council of Provinces ad-hoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill, Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the decision to scrap clause 1(4), which gave the bill supreme authority on classification, should be reconsidered ("Secrecy bill must trump all", yesterday).

Accordingly, this would mean that anyone who discloses classified information - even that which exposes corruption and wrongdoing - cannot claim protection, when it is enacted.

It is regrettable that Cwele insists on a formulation that delivers a mortal blow to the constitution.

The secrecy bill cannot be construed outside the context of the legacy of apartheid and the conclusions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The tragic massacre in Marikana even persuaded sceptics not to surrender hard-won freedoms.

Cwele seems to be asking revolutionary democrats, who serve as legislators, to abdicate their constitutional responsibility of oversight over the executive.

Legislators are asked to be midwives of what famous Irish poet WB Yeats referred to as a rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.

But be warned, honourable minister: Revolutionary democrats outside of parliament have a historical responsibility to prevent the birth of the beast of the wild, which is of no known abode and origin. Those who have brains should think. And those who have ears should listen.

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