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ANC Chief Whip welcomes passing of info bill by NCOP

Sapa

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip has welcomed the approval of a report adopting the legislation for the Protection of State Information Bill.

The Right2Know Campaign intends challenging the Protection of State Information Bill in the ConCourt should it be signed into law. (David Harrison, M&G)

"The bill has undergone over 123 amendments in the National Assembly while a total of over 800 changes were made," spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement on Saturday.

"This means that over 900 amendments have been made on this bill to date, making the ... bill a complete redraft of what was first submitted to Parliament in 2008."

This week, ANC MPs on the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) ad hoc committee handling the bill approved the report and adopted the legislation.

On Thursday, the ANC drove final amendments to it amid protest, bringing the so-called secrecy bill two steps from becoming law.

Mothapo said it was not a media bill and did not "seek to regulate" the media.

"The bill is not about covering corruption ... but about balancing classification of sensitive State information in the interest of national security with openness and transparency."

The amended bill was adopted by 34 votes to 16, and will go back to the National Assembly in the new year, where the ANC majority is likely to pass it.

Opposition parties vowed that if it was passed, they would approach the Constitutional Court to overturn the legislation, a threat also issued by the Right2Know campaign this week. – Sapa.

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