Earlier this afternoon the South African National Assembly approved the controversial Protection of State Information Bill (also referred to as the Secrecy Bill) in parliament despite widespread opposition and question marks around its constitutionality. The bill was adopted by majority vote after a division was called by the opposition and a motion by the DA (Democratic Alliance) to delay the vote failed. All opposition parties present in the House voted against the bill. Hundreds of black-clad activists protested against it outside the gates of parliament and in other South African cities. The outcome of the vote was 229 in favour and 107 against in the 400-member House. There were two abstentions. The National Council of Provinces still needs to approve the Protection of Information Bill next year though.
The DA’s parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said that her party would continue the fight for incisive amendments in the next stage. If this process fails to produce a new version, the DA will petition President Jacob Zuma not to sign the bill but to send it back to parliament. But, if this bill is signed into law, the DA plans to lead an application to the Constitutional Court to have the act declared unconstitutional. During the day Lindiwe Mazibuko asked the ANC members of parliament “You tell your children you fought for freedom but will you also tell them you helped destroy it?”
South African Fast Food chain Nando’s are always on the ball with a topics in the South African media and the approval of the Secrecy Bill has sparked the circulation of this photo all around the internet and its social networks:
All jokes aside, this is indeed a sad day for democracy in South Africa. There has been a huge outcry on the popular micro-blogging service Twitter about this (on the #BlackTuesday and #POIB hashtags) today. South Africans have been tweeting about their protests against the passing of the bill. The general sentiment has been leaning towards comments like “Goodbye Democracy”, “The first step towards communism”, “The people need to be protected from the gov, it is not the gov that must protect itself from the people.” and opinions like “Dear #ANC, at least give us some lipstick. We’d like to at least look pretty when we’re getting f*****.” and “Clearly, public opinion means nothing.”. I’m damn sure that this day (the 22nd of November 2011) will be remembered as the day that the South African government took the first step towards moving away from a true democracy. This saddens me. I hope that the governing party in this country come to their senses, so the saying “The Truth Shall Set You Free” will have meaning again.
What is your opinion about this? Please comment on this post and let the readers of Running Wolf’s Rant know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.