NCOP may miss info bill deadline

It appears unlikely that MPs will meet the 17 May deadline to finalise the so-called Secrecy Bill.

Black Tuesday protester in Johannesburg. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - It appears unlikely that Members of Parliament (MPs) will meet the 17 May deadline to finalise the controversial Protection of State Information Bill.

MPs met on Friday morning to receive two reports relating to the draft law.

The reports contains a summary of opinions from groups and individuals who took part in public hearings.

National Committee of Province (NCOP) ad-hoc committee chair Papi Tau says they are trying hard to work within the timeframe given to them.

"The product must satisfy everybody so it's not a question of putting ourselves under pressure to finalise the bill. We need to ensure that we produce quality."

Meanwhile, MPs could not start debating the actual bill because the two reports were late.

The Right2Know Campaign, opposition parties and South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) were some of the organisations that took part in the hearings.

Under the proposed law, anyone who publishes what is deemed as classified information, could be sentenced to 25-years behind bars.

Secrecy Bill opponents want government to include a clause protecting whistleblowers.