The Protection of State Information Bill is worse than apartheid, an IFP MP said in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
“This is even worse than what happened during apartheid, when even the worst laws were supported by a segment of the South African population,” Albert Mncwango said in a speech prepared for delivery at a community meeting.
This was because all other political parties, churches, the media and members of the public had voiced their concern about the proposed legislation.
“We stand united to speak with one voice to oppose the secrecy bill,” he said.
“We are here to make sure that the rot stops here and now and never happens again.”
Mncwango said it appeared that the African National Congress was putting the will of “the spies, the secret services and the security apparatus” ahead of that of the people.
This meant that South Africa was faced with a “coup d’etat”.
“Democracy is about Parliament expressing the will of the people. Why is Parliament adopting a law that the people don’t want?” he asked.
The rationale behind the Protection of State Information Bill appeared to be that the ANC wanted to “cover up its actions and its inefficiency”.
“It wants to cover up the evidence that shows how the ANC has failed the people of South Africa.”
If voters had access to all such information, no one would ever vote ANC again, Mncwango said.
Concessions made by the ANC National Council of Provinces on Thursday were not sufficient to satisfy the public, he said.
He likened sections of the legislation relating to information already in the public domain as attempts to “unscramble a scrambled egg”.
“You can’t unsay what you said. Yet, this is exactly what this absurd bill tries to do, when it wants to put people in jail for speaking about what has become public because it was not kept secret.”
The public needed to make Parliament reject the bill, if necessary by occupying Parliament in such numbers that it would be impossible for it to be passed into law.
“The people, not Parliament, shall have the final say,” Mncwango said. – Sapa