Two parliamentary committee meetings allocated to deliberating and finalising the Secrecy Bill before the reporting deadline on 17 May are not enough.
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill has set aside only two sessions to discuss and adopt or amend the Secrecy Bill. This will amount to rubberstamping and pushing through one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in our recent history.
I will write to the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee requesting that more time be set aside to ensure that the committee thoroughly and meaningfully deliberates the extraordinarily high volume of public submissions on the Secrecy Bill.
The Ad Hoc Committee must also schedule adequate time for deliberating the content of the Bill itself and, if necessary, a clause-by-clause deliberation during which the necessary and required amendments can be made.
If necessary, I will ask the DA leader in the NCOP, Elza van Lingen, to formally request that the reporting deadline for the Ad Hoc Committee be extended by Council resolution.
We have maintained from the outset that the time allocated to the Committee was insufficient to deal with the controversial piece of legislation. It is vital that additional time is allocated to provide enough opportunity for deliberation and amendments to the Bill.
Alf Lees, DA Member of the NCOP for Kwazulu Natal