22 November 2011

Stop the Secrecy Bill today!

I just tried phoning Deputy President Mr. Motlanthe to voice my objections to the Secrecy Bill that is being pushed through Parliament today. After a very long wait on the phone (call it persistent), a gentleman answered and told me to email my comments through.

In order to assist everyone else in airing their same concerns, here are the email addresses to consider sending an email to, starting with the infobill one first...
  • infobill@parliament.gov.za
And then also ...
  • idavidson@parliament.gov.za
  • gmagwanishe@parliament.gov.za
  • mmotshekga@parliament.gov.za
  • nntwanambi@parliament.gov.za
  • vcalvert@parliament.gov.za
Here's the gist from Avaaz.org so you're armed with a thorough argument, as well as the message that I sent through:

We literally only have hours now to stop the Secrecy Bill -- the National Assembly is called to vote on it this afternoon.

Call Chief Whip Dr. Motshekga's office: 021 403 2288 or 021 403 2280 or 021 403 3860

Call Deputy President Mr. Motlanthe's office: 021 403 2353 or 021 403 2635

The other Chief Whips:

Call Chief Whip Mr. Magwanishe's offices:
Cape Town -- 021 403 2211 // Constituency -- 011 873 7753

Call Chief Whip Ms. Ntwanambi's offices:
Cape Town -- 021 403 2429  // Constituency -- 021 785 4610

Call Chief Whip Mr. Davidson's office: 083 302 2199
We stopped it last time -- after over 35,000 of us sent messages to the Chief Whips and thousands of us took to the streets two months ago, they postponed the vote. Now, the unchanged bill is being pushed back to the floor after a sham public consultation this weekend that was only announced on Friday evening, and the ANC majority could force it through!

The same Chief Whips have the final word on the vote today -- if we call on them and Deputy President Motlanthe, the one outspoken ANC MP, we could block this shockingly regressive bill. Call the Chief Whips' and Motlanthe's offices now to halt the vote and protect our democracy -- it'll only take 5 minutes. Let's give them the public consultation that they have ignored:

Suggestions for your call:

  • Say that you want the ANC to halt the vote and throw out this draconian bill that puts a shroud over government and undermines South Africa's hard won freedoms.
  • Say that the public consultations were a last minute sham and you expect the process to be revised and a real public consultation to take place as promised by the Chief Whips in September.
  • Say you specifically object to a Secrecy Law that: gives up to 25 year jail sentences for anyone holding classified information; removes any protection for whistleblowers; has no public interest clause; and has no independent appeals mechanism.
  • Appeal to Deputy President Motlanthe to use his powers to halt the vote until a public interest defense clause is included as he announced earlier this month.
  • Ask Chief Whip Davidson to bring the citizens messages to the floor of the debate.

If you get a busy signal, don't stop calling. That means we're jamming their phone lines and the pressure on them is rising!
If it just rings -- please try again later or send an email to: idavidson@parliament.gov.za, gmagwanishe@parliament.gov.za, mmotshekga@parliament.gov.za, nntwanambi@parliament.gov.za, and for the Deputy President: vcalvert@parliament.gov.za

And my message to these people:

Dear servants of the people

I won't bore you with details but as a rate-paying, honest, law-abiding, critical-thinking God-fearing patriot of South Africa I abhor the nature of the Secrecy Law in its current form. I embrace democracy and the statutes of law and justice that our country stands for but without protective clauses for whistle-blowers we are spiraling into a draconian state. The argument that other leading nations do not even allow whistle-blowers immunity from prosecution is irrelevant. South Africa is in many ways a pioneer for democracy and we shouldn't play follow-the-leader to these other nations; we should show that we can lead the global community with a transparent and open society that is free from corruption and oppression.

The public consultations were held at the eleventh-hour and we need a revision of the process and a proper consultation.

Whistle-blowers need a public interest safety net if they are to hold the country to account for dishonest and corrupt behaviour. We also need an independent appeals mechanism.

Deputy President Motlanthe - you have the authority to put an end to this vote in the interest of the nation's security and prosperous future. We need further consultation and better protection for honest individuals willing to stand up for justice and against corruption.

Chief Whip Davidson - bring this message - the message of a nation - to the floor! Let us be transparent and open in our conversation!


Anonymous said...

Well said. I'm busy writing an email of my own that I will send to all these addresses.

Don't back down until they get the message


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