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Optimism around changes to info bill

Proposed changes to the Protection of State Information Bill are being deliberated.

Protection of State Information Bill

CAPE TOWN - There has been some optimism around changes to the Protection of State Information Bill, proposed by ANC parliamentarians.

The National Editors Forum said it looked at the proposed changes to see if they were adequate and added that it appears to be a step in the right direction.

Ruling party MPs proposed that the media and whistleblowers could disclose information, but only in cases where criminal activity is exposed.

Progress is painfully slow, as MPs are deliberating the bill clause-by-clause and recommending changes.

Many other proposed changes have not been taken on board.

The ANC's Lewis Nzimande said, "What value is added where now? Unless we just want to make additions and elaborate the bill."

The DA's Alf Lees argued that documents could be partly classified, but not all political parties agreed.

Meanwhile, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said he has not been persuaded that the bill is unconstitutional.

Cwele delivered his budget vote in Parliament.

Opposition parties called on him to heed the calls of civil society organisations, chapter nine institutions and the legal fraternity to close constitutional loopholes.

Cwele said he does not believe the bill is highly flawed.

"I don't see that the process has left a lot of holes in the constitutionality of the bill as it stands at the moment."

Cwele said he is still open to input on how they can improve the bill.