Deadline moved for info Bill committee

President, Jacob Zuma inside Parliament in Cape Town. (AFP)

President, Jacob Zuma inside Parliament in Cape Town. (AFP)

The National Council of Provinces has extended the reporting deadline of its committee processing the Protection of State Information Bill to June 30.

Last week, the ANC proposed several amendments to the Bill in response to sustained criticism over the past few years.

It notably suggested writing a clause into the draft Act to protect those who exposed classified information on corruption.

Critics have cautiously welcomed the concessions but said more were needed to make the legislation constitutional.

It has been criticised as an onslaught on freedom of expression.

The department of state security is expected to present its views on the proposals to the ad hoc committee in coming weeks.

The May 17 deadline was extended after Raseriti Tau, Ncop chairperson, earlier this month urged members to isolate the main arguments raised in recent provincial and parliamentary hearings on the draft Act, saying this should allow them to conclude their deliberations in June.

Tau later scrambled back when asked about shifting the deadline for reporting to Parliament on the Bill.

“I don’t want to talk about extensions. We are trying our best to work within the limited time frame,” he told the media.

Tau also refused to comment on the possibility of amending the Bill, though it is reliably understood that at least some changes are on the cards.

This would see the Bill sent back to the National Assembly to approve those amendments before it could be signed by President Jacob Zuma. – Sapa

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