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AZAPO’S DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF INFORMATION BILL


Honourable Speaker
Honourable Deputy President
Honourable members

There is a picture hanging in our Constituency Office.

It is a picture of the former Editor of the World, the late Percy Qoboza, being led to a Police car by policemen in dark glasses, some of them in safari shorts.

We know that prior to that, Mr Qoboza had been called in by Jimmy Kruger, and later by Prime Minister John Vorster, who reprimanded him for being the only Editor who published the Open Letter written by the Black People’s Convention.

In my 2011 New Year Message I reflected on the events of 2010, including debates around the Protection of Information Bill and the Media Tribunal. I warned then that the discussions and debates reminded me of what happened before the banning of the 19 Black Consciousness Organizations, and said to some of my Comrades “Another Black Wednesday is coming”.

This Bill is a threat to Media freedom. The idea that Journalists would have to check whether documents are classified or not before they publish leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It will be like school kids who have to ask the teacher every time they want to go to the toilet.

I can imagine an Editor, maybe a Makhudu Sefara this time, or a Mzilikazi wa Afrika, being led to a police car because he has breached the provisions of the Act that this Bill will become, if passed by this House.

If Jimmy Kruger is known for his “Biko’s death leaves me cold” utterances, the Honourable Minister will be known for having presided over the Secrecy Bill.

Many in this House have scars they got because they made a conscious effort to defy unjust Laws. This is one such law.

AZAPO will not support the Secrecy Bill.

Thank you.

KJ Dikobo
22.11.2011

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