ANC just putting off POIB problems - IFP

Mario Oriani-Ambrosini says bill could not have gone through as it was incorrectly tagged

Info Bill - Dealing With Its Problems Or Putting Them Off?

I have been asked to comment on rumours that the ANC will announce that it has decided to strike off from tomorrow's agenda the debate on the Protection of State Information Bill. This follows on the IFP having tabled 123 sound and good amendments to the Bill earlier this morning. Once amendments are tabled the Bill must go back to committee.

This rumour also follows on the IFP having requested the Speaker to strike the Bill off the agenda because it has erroneously been tagged as a section 75 rather than a section 76 Bill, dealing as it does with provincial competences on provincial archives.

If the rumour is correct, we are pleased that this result has been achieved.

Yet taking the Bill off tomorrow's agenda does not solve its problems. To solve its problems, the Bill must be amended, otherwise by taking it off the agenda the ANC would merely try to postpone matters in the hope of defusing public attention and calming the public anger against the Bill

Info Bill - Truth Be Told

The ANC has announced that it is pulling the Protection of State Information Bill off tomorrow's parliamentary agenda and has justified this on account of certain parties wanting to make additional submissions. When asked who these parties are, the ANC chief whip stated that the ANC does not quite yet know, as the submissions went to the Speaker!

The fact is that the Bill could not have been passed tomorrow because the IFP has tabled 123 amendments to the Bill, which in terms of the Rules of Parliament requires the Bill to be deferred back to committee.

The IFP also raised with the Speaker the erroneous tagging of the Bill, which in terms of the Rules makes it impossible for the Bill to be proceeded with until the flaw is corrected. Therefore, the ANC had no other legal option to do what they announced today - to pull the Bill off the agenda.

We must now go back to committee and put into the Bill what the whole country wants into it: a public interest defence, a public domain defence, no crime for mere possession and reasonable prison sentences.

Statements issued by Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini MP, Inkatha Freedom Party, September 19 2011

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