No deadline extension for POSIB

The Ad hoc committee has not considered extending the deadline for the POSIB.

A copy of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Ad hoc committee dealing with the Protection of State Information Bill said on Wednesday it has not considered extending the deadline by which talks on the draft law must be completed.

The Ad hoc committee reconvened in parliament on Wednesday, when the African National Congress (ANC) made several concessions.

ANC Member of Parliament (MP) Siphiwo Mazosiwe explained one amendment.

"The classification, reclassification and declassification provisions of this act apply to cabinet, the security services and the over-side bodies referred to."

He said this signals progress.

"This is a major leap forward compared what we originally had. We do take into account the views of the public and the views of the committee."

Committee Chairperson, Rasertiti Tau said the deliberations will continue for as long as is necessary.

"We are not under any pressure to finalise the bill. I think it's something we would have set for ourselves, to say that by a certain time we would have loved to see the bill finalised and passed through."

Meanwhile, some opposition members serving on the Ad hoc committee said they were encouraged by recent concessions made by the ANC.

Some of the changes will prevent municipalities from being allowed to classify information.

However, Congress of the People's (COPE) Dennis Bloem said they want to see more changes.

"We have agreed that the sentences be taken out completely and left to the courts, so that the courts can decide."

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) Alf Lees said, "The ANC really has made some positive and significant steps toward amending the bill."