This bill will destroy our freedoms - Lindiwe Mazibuko

DA parliamentary leader says her party will continue the fight against the POIB

Extract from a speech delivered by DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, in the National Assembly, November 22 2011:

Declaration on the Protection of Information Bill

If passed, this Bill will unstitch the very fabric of our Constitution. It will criminalise the freedoms that so many of our people fought for. What will you, the members on that side of the House, tell your grandchildren one day?

I know you will tell them that you fought for freedom. But will you also tell them you helped to destroy it? Because they will pay the price for your actions today. Let this weigh heavy on your conscience as you cast your vote.

Speaker, whatever happens in this House, we will not give up the fight. We have fought this Bill from the very first day it was tabled. And we will continue to do whatever it takes to defeat those who want to silence our people.

First, we will take the fight to the National Council of Provinces, where we will propose amendments, including a clause to protect those who disclose state information in the public interest.

If the Bill in its current form is passed in that House, we trust that the President will send it back to Parliament. Surely he will see that it is unconstitutional. But if this Bill is signed into law, I will lead an application to the Constitutional Court to have the Act declared unconstitutional.

In terms of section 80 of the Constitution, the support of one-third of the Members of this House will be enough to send this Bill directly to the Constitutional Court. I know that my colleagues on the opposition benches will support us. And I believe there are enough ANC MPs with a conscience who will do the right thing.

Honourable Members, it is our duty to protect democracy. A Bill that poses a danger to our people's freedom is before us. Let us vote against it today. But if it is passed, let the message ring out from this House across South Africa:

The ANC has abandoned the values of its founders exactly 100 years after it was formed.

Mr Speaker, the Democratic Alliance will oppose the Bill..

Issued by the DA, November 22 2011

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