Fresh concerns over access to information

As concerns for the public’s right to access information mounts, serious questions are being asked about...

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

As concerns for the public’s right to access information mounts, serious questions are being asked about why the Defence Ministry has classified the details of President Jacob Zuma’s flights. <?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

In a written reply to Parliament on Monday, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu refused to divulge flight details, including costs, locations and routes, saying the information is classified.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) shadow Defence Minister David Maynier said he is concerned Sisulu’s department is becoming a state within a state.

He said the official opposition is extremely concerned that her secrecy may signal a wider trend.

“This information has always been provided in the past and so the question arises what has now changed and what has caused the minister to decide to classify this information,” said Maynier.

Various groups, including local and international media bodies, business and civil society, have voiced their serious concern about the Protection of Information Bill, which they say will censor <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s media.