Mail & Guardian reports that South Africa’s ruling ANC party has promised to restrict the application of the contentious Protection of Information Bill (aka the Secrecy Bill) so that it only applies to the intelligence and security services and the police.
The ANC is also proposing to narrow the grounds for classifying information and define the term national security so that it refers to the protection of South African citiziens and “the territorial integrity of the republic against the threat of the use of force, war, terrorism, espionage, violence and sabotage’.
However, there is still no inclusion of a much needed public interest defence clause in the Bill.
The concessions are seen as being prompted by the vehement opposition of civil society organisations such as the Right to Know campaign and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to the Bill.
It is hoped that the ANC doesn’t backtrack on these concessions as it did a few weeks ago.