MPs discuss 'Secrecy Bill'

MPs are discussing the controversial Protection of State Information bill word for word.

Members of Parliament are discussing the Protection of State Information bill word for word.

CAPE TOWN - Deliberations have resumed in Parliament on the contentious Protection of State Information Bill.

There have been some heated debates in the ad-hoc committee which is dealing with the so-called 'secrecy bill'.

It is holding a last round of discussions before the matter goes back to the National Assembly.

Members of Parliament (MPs) are literally discussing the bill word for word, starting with the title.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Elf Lees took issue with the word "valuable" in the heading, when referring to certain information.

The ANC'S Teboho Chane argued the 46 word title, as it stands, covers everything the draft law is about.

In a rare moment of agreement, all parties were satisfied with the proposal not to allow municipalities to classify certain information.

But Parliamentarians are stuck on the ruling party's proposal that the bill should take precedent over the Promotion of Access to Information Act when the two laws are in conflict.

Earlier, a group of people demonstrated outside Parliament against the controversial bill.

It was passed in the National Assembly in November 2011.

Currently, whistleblowers can be sentenced to 15 years in prison for exposing classified information.