Today the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory appeared in Parliament's National Council of Provinces to argue for amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB). Invited by the council to speak to its written submission on the Bill, the Centre focused on what it regards as four critical defects.
The Bill's defects are:
1) A disturbing subversion of the Promotion of Access to Information Act;
2) The absence of either a public interest defence or the onus being placed on the State to demonstrate actual damage in relation to offences;
3) A public interest override too narrow in scope; and
4) A reluctant and imprecise automatic declassification provision.
The Centre was represented by Sello Hatang and Verne Harris, who followed inputs from Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi, Legal Resources Centre Advocate George Bizos, the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Helen Suzman Foundation.