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Important Announcements

Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition:“Fighting

Corruption in Africa: a Youth Perspective”

 

African Union Advisory Board on Corruption

 

UNITED NATIONS

ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA

 

Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition:

Fighting Corruption in Africa: a Youth Perspective”

 

Are you an African youth concerned about corruption on the continent?

Have you or anyone close to you been a victim of corruption?

Do you believe your future is in any way threatened by corrupt practices?

Would you want your voice to be heard on the issue of corruption?

And do you have a passion for writing?

 

Then you should seriously consider participating in this year’s ‘Anti-Corruption Youth Essay Competition,’ co-organized by the Governance and Public Administration Division (GPAD) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Secretariat of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC). This is within the framework of annual festivities to mark the International Anti-corruption Week, which is a major item in the Regional Anti-corruption Programme for Africa, developed by the UNECA, in collaboration with the AU-ABC.

 

The Regional Anti-corruption Program for Africa aims at up scaling the fight against corruption on the continent with a view to ensuring a corruption free, better governed and economically prosperous African continent.

 

As you are well aware, corruption negatively affects all segments and groups in society, particularly the youth, who constitute the majority in many African countries. This essay competition is therefore intended to serve two main purposes: firstly, to establish the level of awareness, among African youths of the manifestations and impact of corruption; and secondly, provide a platform for African youths to present their perspectives on the causes, manifestations and impact of corruption and corrupt practices.

 

This year’s theme is “Fighting Corruption in Africa: A youth Perspective” If you have a story or an experience to share relating to this theme, this is a wonderful opening for you – make your submission and let your voice count.

 

The authors of the best three essays will be flown to the host city for the 2012 International Anti-corruption Week, to directly take part in the festivities. More significantly, the five leading authors will participate in a final competition, during which they will make oral presentations (of their essays) to a panel of judges, who will select the three top winners who will then receive special awards from African dignitaries and officials from the two convening institutions.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

 

-       Applicants must reside in an African country

-       Applicants must be currently attending secondary or high-school

-       Essays must be between 4-7 pages long (single line spacing)

-       Submissions must be the unaided work of applicants

-       Submissions should be either in English or French

-       Applicants must be willing and fit to travel

 

To submit an entry:

 

Email your essay with your name, age, school, country of origin, and contact information (email address, telephone number) to: John I Gbodi (e-mail: Gbodij@africa-union.org) and copy Francis Ikome (e-mail: fikome@uneca.org.

 

 

The deadline for submission is: 15th August 2012­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________

 

 

   

UNITED NATIONS

ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA

     

African Union ADVisory board on corruption

 

  

Concours d’ Essai de Jeunes sur  la Lutte contre la Corruption:

“La Lutte contre la corruption en Afrique: La Perspective des Jeunes”

 

Etes-vous jeune Africain concerné par la corruption sur le continent?

Avez-vous personnellement ou un proche de vous , été une fois victime d’un acte de corruption?

Pensez-vous que votre futur est de quelque façon menacée par des actes de corruption?

Voudriez-vous que votre voix soit entendue sur le problème de la corruption?

Avez-vous de surcroît la passion d’écrire?

 

Alors, vous devriez sérieusement envisager de participer au Concours d’Essai de Jeunes sur la lutte contre la corruption, organisée cette année, par le Département de la Gouvernance et l’Administration Publique (DGAP) de la Commission Economique des Nations Unies pour l”Afrique (CEA) et le Secrétariat du Conseil Consultatif de l’Union Africaine sur la Corruption(CCUAC). Ce concours s’inscrit dans le cadre de la commémoration annuelle de la Semaine Internationale de Lutte contre la Corruption, qui constitue une activité majeure du Programme Régional de Lutte contre la Corruption, développé par la CEA en collaboration avec le CCUAC.

 

L’objectif du Programme Régional de Lutte contre la Corruption est d’accélérer la lutte contre la corruption sur le continent aux fins de bâtir une Afrique épargnée de corruption, une Afrique mieux gouvernée et une Afrique économiquement plus prospère.

 

Comme vous le saviez certainement, la corruption affecte négativement, plusieurs secteurs et groupes de la société, et plus particulièrement la jeunesse, qui constitue la majorité de la population dans plusieurs pays en Afrique. Ce concours d’Essai a donc pour but d’une part de s’enquérir du niveau de prise de conscience des jeunes sur l’existence et les conséquences  de la corruption et d’autre part, de fournir une plate-forme aux jeunes aux fins de présenter leurs perspectives  quant aux causes, manifestations et conséquences de la corruption et de ses pratiques.

 

Le Thème choisi pour l’Essai cette année, est: “La Lutte contre la Corruption en Afrique: La Perspective  des Jeunes”. Si vous avez une histoire ou une expérience sur ce thème et que vous voudriez partager avec les autres, voici alors une occasion propice. Faites votre contribution et faites entendre votre voix.

 

Les auteurs des trois (3) meilleurs essais feront le voyage en avion sur la capitale Africaine qui a été choisie pour la commémoration,  cette année 2012,  de la Semaine Internationale de Lutte contre la Corruption, pour y participer. Auparavant,  les auteurs des cinq (5) meilleurs essais, participeront ā une compétition finale, oū ils seraient priés de faire une présentation orale de leurs textes, devant un jury qui sélectionnera les trois meilleurs, qui recevront ensuite divers prix de la main de hauts dignitaires Africains membres des deux organes organisateurs.

 

Critères de selection:

 

 

 

STATEMENT ON MARIKANA COMMISSION’S TERMS OF REFERENCE

12 May 2014

The removal of the Department of Mineral Resources and other government departments from the scope of enquiry of the Farlam Commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 44 people in Marikana in August 2012 is deeply worrying.

This announcement published in the Government Gazette on 5 May 2014, fundamentally amends the terms of reference of the Farlam Commission, and is designed to avoid any proper scrutiny of government departments in the massacre of miners, security personnel and police officers at Marikana.

The Commission’s initial terms of reference required it to consider the roles played by Lonmin, SAPS, AMCU, NUM and ‘the Department of Mineral Resources or any other government department or agency’ in the massacre that has tarnished our post-apartheid society, and shocked the South African public.

This change will also undermine the series of public seminars that has been envisaged under phase 2 of the Commission looking at the broader socio-economic and labour market issues that prevail in the mining sector. This must of necessity look at the role of the Department of Labour.

CASAC’s Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo says:
“This narrowing of the terms of reference will significantly reduce the scope and comprehensiveness of the Commission’s final report and accordingly undermines the status and credibility of that report. Aside from SAPS no other state institution will be investigated by the Commission. We will therefore not have a full picture of the circumstances that led to this shameful massacre.”

The terms of reference were also amended to direct the Commission to conclude its investigation by 31 July 2014 and submit its final report within six weeks thereafter. Whilst we welcome the announcement of a final deadline for Judge Farlam’s report, given the drawn-out process of the Commission’s work thus far, we must be sceptical about the seeming haste in ending the life of the Commission.

In particular it is unclear whether the Commission will have sufficient time and information to produce a report that deals with all the issues in manner that gives all South Africans, and particularly the families of the victims, some closure to this tragic episode in our history. Judge Farlam’s report must also make recommendations for appropriate mechanisms for accountability of those responsible for the massacre. This decision by the President to excise a key part of the enquiry will greatly handicap Judge Farlam in properly executing his mandate.

For further enquiries
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

Submission to Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee

Media statement
23 April 2014

CASAC has today made a written submission to the Speaker of the National Assembly regarding the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the President’s submission and response to the Public Protector’s Report.
The submission focusses its attention on the specific findings made against the President including the violation of the Executive Member’s Act and the responsibility of the National Assembly to hold the President to account.
The submission states that “…the investigation by the National Assembly cannot be made subject to the report of the SIU (Special Investigating Unit)…the SIU is not competent to investigate the findings of the Public Protector, namely that the President acted in breach of the Constitution and the Code of Ethics. Any investigation by the SIU will not address those issues. Under the Constitution and the Executive Members Ethics Act, that is the responsibility of Parliament.”

We have requested that members of the Ad Hoc Committee be furnished with the submission.

For a copy of the submission please email info@casac.org.za

Lawson Naidoo
Executive Secretary
073 158 5736

MEDIA STATEMENT - Public Protector Report on Nkandla

The Public Protector is appointed under the Constitution to strengthen constitutional democracy by probing improper conduct and maladministration in state affairs. In her report on the upgrades at the President’s private residence at Nkandla she has found that the President has violated the Constitution.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) believes that under these circumstances, it is necessary to consider whether the violation is of such a serious nature to require invoking the provisions of section 89 (1) of the Constitution. In our opinion, the issue is whether it would be constitutionally intolerable for the President to remain in office.

The Public Protector has made a positive finding that the President acted in breach of section 96(1) and (2) of the Constitution (paragraphs 10.10.1.5 and 10.10.1.6 of the Public Protector’s report). These sections place two obligations on the President. First, he must comply with the code of ethics for members of the Executive. Second, he must not act in a manner inconsistent with his office or expose himself to a situation of a conflict of interest.

CASAC Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo says:
“The Public Protector has found that the President violated both constitutional duties. First, by wearing “two hats” as guardian of the country’s resources and as a direct personal beneficiary of improper privileges, he violated the duty to avoid placing his personal interests in conflict with those of the state. Second, by failing to cause an investigation as soon as he became aware of the expenditure into his home, he acted in a manner inconsistent with the duty to protect public funds.”

Section 89(1) (a) provides that the President may be removed from office by a resolution supported by two thirds of the members of the National Assembly, for a “serious violation” of the Constitution or the law, or in terms of s. 89 (1) (b) for “serious misconduct”. Given the findings of the investigation as a whole, the quantum of the monies expended and the role of the President, it
would be difficult to sustain any argument that the findings of the Public Protector do not amount to serious violations or misconduct.

CASAC therefore believes that it would be constitutionally intolerable for Parliament not to consider whether the constitutional violation or the misconduct identified by the Public Protector fall within the category of violations in section 89 (1).

We call upon the Speaker of the National Assembly to convene a sitting of that House to deliberate on this matter.

For further enquiries please contact
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736 or 021 685 8809
Lawson@casac.org.za

CASAC's Kader Asmal Human Rights Scholarship Award

Applications for CASAC’s Kader Asmal Human Rights Scholarship Award are now open. The award is for a Masters course in Human Rights @ Trinity College in Dublin. Application details can be found at http://www.canoncollins.org.uk/ireland.html

Media Statement on the killing of the Mothutlung Protestors

14 January 2014

CASAC is outraged at the killing of two people at the hands of the police during a protest against a lack of water services in Mothutlung in the North West province yesterday.

Citizens would have every right to expect that lessons would have been learned and remedial measures implemented in the aftermath of the killing of Andries Tatane in April 2011, the Marikana massacre in August 2012 and the killing of Mido Macio in Daveyton in February 2013. So far no one has been held to account for the killings of Tatane, Macio and the dead of Marikana. The failure to act against the perpetrators of these killings will only serve to undermine respect for the rule of law.

So despite the protestations of the Minister of Police that a culture of impunity does not permeate the South African Police Service (SAPS) we have seen no evidence of a change in the manner of public order policing.

CASAC Chairman Sipho Pityana says:
“Indeed it appears that a policy of maximum force is prevalent within the SAPS, a view that CASAC outlined in its written submission to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. The obfuscation of SAPS officials testifying before the Farlam Commission strengthens the perception that the police are not prepared to accept responsibility for their actions and to be formally held accountable.”

We are concerned that over a year after the Human Rights Commission published its report on the killing of Andries Tatane, its recommendations appear to have been ignored by the SAPS – these recommendations included the following:

• that SAPS improves the ‘training of police officers in managing and regulating gatherings to ensure that future police interventions in public protests result in a more peaceful and non-violent outcome’;
• that SAPS together with the HRC develop a training manual for the SAPS Public Riot Unit;
• SAPS to actively engage with communities where there are popular protests;
• That the Minister of Police and Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA) report twice a year on measures put in place to address the phenomenon of increasingly violent community protests. COGTA is also required to report on measures to ameliorate systemic failures in local government and interventions to avoid service delivery protests.
The Minister of Police must urgently clarify the position of the SAPS with regard to the circumstances when live ammunition may be used, and what measures have been put in place to ensure that the constitutional rights of the public are respected by the SAPS.

Enquiries:
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

CASAC Media Statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

06 December 2013

Nelson Mandela was one of South Africa’s foremost constitutionalists, a noble democrat, a great leader and a hero to millions across the globe. He epitomised the fortitude of the human spirit and the dominance of good over evil.

Everywhere, the name Nelson Mandela is synonymous with the idea of freedom, with the advancement of human rights, and with the loftiest human virtues of courage, self-sacrifice and dignity.

The death of Nelson Mandela provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on the values to which we aspire as a democratic society and the standards of probity we have a right to expect of our leaders.

In his opposition to apartheid Mandela was a symbol of principled resistance. Imprisoned for his defiance, he united people across the globe. Despite his 27 year incarceration he was the symbol of the resistance to the brutal apartheid state, honoured and decorated in all corners of the world.

As the first democratic president of the Republic of South Africa, Mandela’s magnanimity in victory, and his pursuit of national reconciliation, set the tone for the kind of nation and society that we aspire to. President Mandela set extraordinary standards and thereby helped encourage the prospect of a new era of democratic politics in Africa.

His commitment to justice, to the rule of law and to judicial independence never wavered – even when his Presidential decisions were subjected to review by the courts and, on occasion, over-turned. He demonstrated the utmost respect for the democratic institutions of governance that he fought so hard to establish. He deferred to the courts when many felt it was unnecessary to do so and bestowed upon Parliament the courtesy that it deserves from the executive branch of government. He respected the notion of the separation of powers, and ensured that he and his Ministers were accountable to Parliament.

Thus, his legacy will never diminish, but will remain a beacon of hope and inspiration to democrats and constitutionalists everywhere. He will inspire generations to come, not just here, but across the globe.

Let us celebrate his life by re-committing ourselves to the principles that he fought for and was prepared to die for – equality, justice and human dignity.

We join millions of people throughout the world in expressing our sorrow at his departure and in offering our condolences to his family and his many dearly-loved friends.

CASAC Welcomes Decision on Marikana Funding

15 October 2013

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) welcomes the decision by Judge Tati Makgoka in the South Gauteng High Court ordering Legal Aid South Africa to fund the legal representation of workers who were injured in the Marikana massacre last year. We hope that this judgment will now mark the end of the protracted battle by the injured workers to secure their legal participation in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

CASAC Chairman says:
“We urge Legal Aid SA to respect this judgment, adhere to it and not to appeal it. There is little to be gained from further legal wrangling over funding; indeed any appeal will only serve to further deepen the wounds of these injured workers. Our overriding concern is for Judge Farlam to be able to expeditiously fulfil his mandate by identifying those responsible for the loss of life”.

The interests of justice demand that all parties involved in the tragic massacre be afforded an opportunity to participate fully in the Commission. It is only by hearing the testimony of all parties can Judge Farlam make his findings with regards to what happened on 16 August last year.
We trust that the Commission will now be able to proceed with its work without further delay and report as soon as possible. We call on all parties to co-operate to ensure that this is achieved.

Enquiries:
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

NPA FEELS STING OF MURPHY’S LAW - by Lawson Naidoo

It will no doubt be argued by some that Judge John Murphy has transgressed the judicial boundaries in making far-reaching findings in the case brought by civil society group, Freedom under Law, in the Richard Mdluli saga.
Not only did the judge order that the decisions not to prosecute Mdluli for murder and associated charges, as well as fraud and corruption, and to terminate the disciplinary proceedings and revoke his suspension, be set aside, he ordered that these various charges be reinstated forthwith, and prosecuted diligently and without delay. Judge Murphy delivered a detailed, reasoned judgment within two weeks of hearing the matter, an example many of his colleagues on the bench would do well to follow.
Whilst the case raises critical issues about the separation of powers under our constitutional democracy, the factual findings lay bare a grim picture of the extent to which those tasked with the responsibility to uphold law and order have bent over backwards to protect a high profile and seemingly influential figure such as the former Head of Crime Intelligence in the SAPS. The case lists among its respondents the Acting NDPP, the head of the Special Commercial Crimes Unit, the National Police Commissioner and the Minister of Police.
The Constitution confers on the NPA the power to institute criminal prosecutions on behalf of the state and enjoins it to exercise this power without fear, favour or prejudice. This is a broad and weighty power but not an unrestrained one. The court rejected the argument that the power to review prosecution decisions vested solely in the NDPP. Judge Murphy ruled that the decisions of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are not immune from judicial review even though the Promotion of Administrative justice Act (PAJA) specifically excludes from its purview decisions to institute or continue a prosecution. Murphy found that decisions not to prosecute or to continue a prosecution are reviewable under PAJA as well as on the basis of legality or rationality. Those wielding public power must do so in a manner that is transparent, reasonable, lawful and accountable.
Under the Prosecutions Policy which guides the functioning of the NPA, once there is sufficient evidence indicating reasonable prospects for a conviction, a prosecution should follow unless the public interest demands otherwise. In this case the public interest would appear to demand that a senior police officer charged with serious offences such as murder, kidnapping, fraud and corruption should be prosecuted.
Murphy ruled that Lawrence Mrwebi did not possess the power to withdraw the fraud and corruption charges without the concurrence of the Director of Public Prosecutions for North Gauteng, and that he did not secure such agreement. Mrwebi’s decision flagrantly violated the Prosecution Policy and was unlawful.
The DPP for South Gauteng sought to justify the withdrawal of the murder and related charges on the basis of there being no direct evidence linking Mdluli to the murder of Oupa Ramogibe, the husband of Mdluli’s former lover. The DPP relied on the finding of the inquest he had initiated to support this decision. Murphy found that, on the contrary, the ‘evidence presents a compelling
prima facie case against Mdluli’. He also stressed that an inquest is not an appropriate forum to determine the culpability of any person; it is an investigative process aimed at determining the cause of death – there was no dispute that Ramogibe had been shot! The inquest was also restricted to looking at the issue of murder and could therefore not be relied upon to justify the decision to quash the 17 associated charges of attempted murder, assault, kidnapping etc.
The Acting Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had informed Parliament that he took the decision to withdraw the disciplinary charges against Mdluli in February 2012 on instructions from authorities or persons ‘beyond him’. Despite the hackneyed protestations by National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega that Mkhwanazi was ‘quoted out of context’ no evidence to this effect was proffered. Whilst Mkhwanazi did not disclose who exactly instructed him, we should perhaps commend him for exposing the fact that hidden hands and hidden agendas exist in the upper reaches of the criminal justice system. Murphy however castigates Mkhwanazi for succumbing to this pressure and failing to protect the integrity of SAPS.
The case therefore constitutes an embarrassing defeat for the NPA and the SAPS. That the judgment of Murphy will be appealed will surprise no one because if it stands it may have grave consequences for President Zuma in his quest to now avoid ‘having his day in court’. Regardless of the outcome of any appeal there are some inescapable conclusions to be drawn from the case.
Firstly the improper interference of unknown persons in the functioning of SAPS does not bode well for the shiny new Hawks unit which has been seeking to persuade the Cape High Court that it is insulated from undue political influence under the amended SAPS Act. Mkhwanazi’s experience will expose the porous Chinese walls that SAPS has been seeking to build around the Hawks.
Secondly, Glynnis Breytenbach will now feel vindicated having consistently maintained that she was suspended and faced disciplinary charges in order to prevent her from pursuing the fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli.
Thirdly, Murphy was scathing in his criticism of the manner in which the Acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba and Mrwebi managed the case – he was moved to state: “The attitude of the respondents signals a troubling lack of appreciation of the constitutional ethos and principles underpinning the offices they hold”. Their dilatory and less than co-operative attitude towards the court in this case comes close to contempt of court; directions from the Deputy Judge President were ignored and flouted, affidavits were filed months late, and full information was not disclosed to the court. It is now clear that neither Jiba nor Mrwebi are fit and proper persons to hold office in the NPA.
The newly appointed NDPP, Mxolisi Nxasana, assumes office on 1 October – it he is to succeed in restoring the credibility of the NPA, there needs to be a clear-out of those bringing the NPA into disrepute – as a start steps should be instituted to remove Jiba and Mrwebi from office.
Lawson Naidoo is the Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)

EASTERN CAPE HEALTH CRISIS ACTION COALITION PRESS RELEASE 19 SEPTEMBER 2013

The Minister of Health announced today results of an investigation into the state of healthcare in the Eastern Cape and aspects of a plan to address the crisis. He acknowledged that the impetus behind this response was pressure from the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition (ECHCAC) and a report released by certain Coalition members.
The ECHCAC welcomes the Minister’s commitments and is dedicated to monitoring their implementation. We will moreover continue to report on problems brought to our attention.
The Minister confirmed the veracity of the report and observed that it is “poignantly titled Death and Dying in the Eastern Cape”.
We applaud the Minister’s swift response and look forward to working with him going forward. We are encouraged by his commitment to tabling a comprehensive plan to address the crisis as called for in the ECHCAC memorandum.
In contrast, the Provincial Department of Health continues to pronounce conflicting positions. On the one hand, the MEC and the ECDoH spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo have repeatedly denied that there is a crisis; on the other, they have claimed that they are doing all in their power to fix it yet the problems are so extreme that they are unable to do so. We encourage the National Department to work with the Provincial Department to enable it to come to terms with the reality of the crisis and coordinate a plan to address it.
We note also the importance of addressing the crisis at the facility level and are encouraged that the Minister has responded in regard to certain facilities that we have brought to his attention. We also agree with the Minister’s assessment that the OR Tambo District is in need of particular attention. However, we note that the crisis in the Eastern Cape results in large part from system and management failures and will continue until these are addressed. Moreover, the crisis is not confined to OR Tambo or the facilities mentioned in the report but reaches across the province. We therefore encourage the departments to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to turn around the state

of the healthcare system throughout the province. Such plan should include measurable indicators and milestones as well as clearly define responsible parties.
The ECHCAC has provided the provincial and national departments until 11 October 2013 to table a comprehensive plan to address the systemic afflictions that plague healthcare in the province. We reiterate that call now. As the problems in the Eastern Cape healthcare system require long-term solutions, the Coalition is committed to a long-term campaign: we will continue until people in the Eastern Cape have access to the healthcare services that the Constitution entitles them to. We believe that our strength derives in large part from our broad base and are glad to have seen the Coalition grow considerably in recent weeks.
The Coalition also wishes to respond to the MEC’s reported comments in a TRU FM radio discussion on Sunday. The MEC claimed during the discussion that ECHCAC had on Monday cancelled a meeting scheduled with him. This is incorrect. We have for a long time been trying to meet with the MEC to discuss the challenges in the Eastern Cape health system. However, as the timeline below reveals, the MEC has cancelled and postponed our meetings on numerous occasions.
Early 2013: The Treatment Action Campaign first requests to meet the MEC. A meeting is confirmed for 9 August and reconfirmed when the TAC pointed out it was a public holiday.
26 July 2013: The 9 August meeting is rescheduled by the MEC’s office to 20 August.
16 August 2013: The 20 August meeting is rescheduled by the MEC’s office to 13 September. The letter states it is for “Reasons beyond my control”.
5 September 2013: The Coalition proposes a meeting for 9 or 10 September to discuss the report of which he had been couriered an advance copy.
5 September 2013: The MEC writes to the Coalition and schedules a meeting on 16 September.
11 September 2013: The MEC writes to the Coalition and cancels the 16 September meeting citing “prior commitments”.
The Coalition applauds the Minister’s swift response and awaits signs of similar dedication from the MEC.
The ECHCAC is a coalition of organisations and individuals primarily from the Eastern Cape dedicated to fixing the healthcare system and ensuring the realisation of the constitutional right to health in the Province.
Visit the ECHCAC website and sign the memorandum at: www.echealthcrisis.org.za
Contact:
Kwazi Mbatha: 078 059 9309 / ECHealthCrisis@rhap.org.za Anele Yawa: 073 555 8849

President refers the Secrecy Bill back to Parliament

Media Statement

13 September 2013

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) believes that the Protection of State Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill) needs to be completely overhauled.
President Zuma’s referral of the Bill back to Parliament in terms of section 79(1) of the Constitution falls far short of what is required to fix its numerous fundamental problems.
Parliament will be limited to a review of the two clauses that the President has highlighted, clauses 45 and 48. The Rules of Parliament prevent a consideration of any other parts of the Bill. Clause 45 provides some protection against over-zealous government officials classifying information for ulterior purposes (such as concealing corruption). It creates offences for the improper classification of information. Clause 48 requires the written authority of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate or prosecute any offence under the Bill that carries a penalty of more than five years imprisonment.

In the absence of a clear articulation of the Presidents reasons for referring these clauses in particular, the question arises as to whether it is the intention of the President that Parliament should weaken the limited protections offered by these clauses. Even if the intention is to strengthen these clauses, tinkering with them will not render the Bill constitutionally compliant.

CASAC Chairman Sipho Pityana says:
“The Bill must be scrapped in its entirety because it is fatally flawed. The process must be started afresh to develop a piece of legislation that legitimately protects state secrets, without unnecessarily infringe on rights of access to information that are protected by the Constitution.”

The real problems with the Bill include its broad definition of national security, inadequate protection for whistle-blowers, the ability to delegate authority to classify information to junior officials, its failure to incorporate a proper public interest defence and its incompatibility with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). The Government has a right and a duty to effectively classify state information to protect our national security, but it must be done in line with the constitutional principles of government that is accountable, responsive and open.

Enquiries:
Lawson Naidoo
073 158 5736

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