Home Contact Us Maps Links The Constitution Marikana
| More

Statement regarding the Protection of State Information Bill

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The South African Human Rights Commission is concerned that the Protection of State Information Bill in its current form could impact negatively on basic human rights. During its previous presentation the Commission emphasised to Parliament that it is vital that the objectives of our constitutional democracy are in a justifiable and informed balance with the need to protect specific information by organs of state. The Commission has a Constitutional and legislative responsibility for the right to access to information. It emphasised the need for the Bill to be aligned with the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to avoid moving back towards a culture of secrecy which has the potential to undermine our democracy.

While the Commission recognises the need for the State to effectively protect specific information in the interests of the country and the amendments it has made to the Bill to date, it remains concerned that the absence of public interest as a defense creates a strong suspicion of uncontested and complete secrecy.

Despite provisions in the Bill which make false classification unlawful, members of the public and the media will be extremely frustrated in attempting to prove or establish such illegality by virtue of the very provisions of the Bill in the absence of a public interest defense. The Commission expressed its concern about the impact of the Bill on the rights of journalists and whistleblowers who release information in the public interest and face the prospect of lengthy imprisonment sentences in the absence of a public interest defense in the Bill.

SA’s Constitutional Democracy demands that the impact of legislation which could potentially unfairly limit basic rights be approached with extreme caution. The Commission previously recommended to the National Assembly that broader public consultation was necessary. This must happen when the bill is before the National Council of Provinces. Broad consultation will deepen society’s awareness of the Bill. It will also ensure that the views of people who will potentially be negatively impacted by the Bill are taken into account when the NCOP finalises the Bill.


For further enquiries: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

- See more at: http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/index.html#sthash.vQme5ODl.dpuf

The South African Constitution

The Commission is available on social media

SAHRC TWITTER.jpg One.jpg @SAHRCommission

Facebook-Icon.jpg SA Human Rights Commission

YOU1.png SAHRC 1

To lodge a human rights violation complaint, click here.

or Call 011 877 3600
e-mail: complaints@sahrc.org.za

Provincial contact details are available here


PAIA section 14 Manual.jpg


SAHRC launches investigation into allegations of racism at University of the Free State
SAHRC finalizing report on complaints against King Goodwill Zwelithini
SAHRC response to ANC petition on racism
International Disability Day – SAHRC calls for employers to do more
SAHRC welcomes Supreme Court judgment on the delivery of textbooks in Limpopo


Pfanelo January Edition

Upcoming Events

  • 20 year Anniversary Celebration


Report any fraudulent and/or unethical behavior taking place in the Commission anonymously to the SAHRC Tip-offs Line.

FreeCall: 0800 222 365
Email: sahrc@tip-offs.com
FreeFax: 0800 00 77 88
FreePost: KZN 138, Umhlanga Rocks 4320
Website: www.tip-offs.com

Independently managed by the Office of the Public Service Commission.


SAHRC Programmes

Since its establishment, the SAHRC has dedicated itself to:
•  Raising awareness;
•  Monitoring and assessment;
•  Education and training
•  Addressing human rights violations

How can the SAHRC help?

The SAHRC promotes, protects and monitors human rights in South Africa. It also has a specific responsibility to promote and monitor the implemen-
tation of PAIA.


08 March – International Women’s Day
21 March - Human Rights Day
27 April – Freedom day
1 May - Workers day
03 May – World Press Freedom Day

[See more]