Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reflection of the Protection of Information Bill

Lusanda Bill
27 July 2010

The reflection and discussion of a way forward for the Protection of Information Bill took place today in Parliament.

Chief State law adviser Enver Daniels appeared before the ad hoc committee today to make his presentation.

Daniels stated in his presentation that he was very concerned about the level of criticism and objection the bill had from the media, especially those who made submissions before the committee on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

Enver Daniels stated that he was satisfied with the bill, and it is constitutional which makes it easier for people to get access to information easily.

He added in his presentation that the submissions made before the committee last week, that some of them were “hysterical and emotional”. Daniel said because the objection to the bill is so strong he believes that the bill will land up in the constitutional court sometime.

He also made it very clear, in the issue of classification, that information can only be classified if the reason for justification is justifiable, legitimate and it is done on the ground of national interest.

He then named a few of the media organisations who made submissions last week like the Mail and Guardian, Dr Dario Milo from Print Media South Africa, South African Editors National Forum where he stated that these submissions were good and had valid points but he did not agree with them.

He ended off by stating that he had a strong team and that his office was among the most skilled in constitutional law, and that very few bills that have been approved by him have been overturned on constitutional appeal.

Then it was chairperson of the ad hoc committee Mr C V Burgess to make a presentation about the way forward.

He stated that he wanted the committee members to be very clear on the policy and constitutionality of the bill before they can move ahead, and wanted everybody to be on the same page before they can go through the bill clause by clause.

All submissions and objections made before the committee will be taken into consideration.

The outcome is that the ad hoc committee members will meet on the 10 August 2010, to assess all the submission hearings and determine where to go from there.

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