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Opposition MPs stage walkout

Opposition MPs are unhappy about the way the ANC is handling the secrecy bill.

Opposition MPs are unhappy about the way the ANC is handling the secrecy bill.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition members of the ad hoc committee dealing with the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB) on Tuesday staged a walkout at the final meeting of the parliamentary grouping.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) were meant to discuss the final report of amendments to the contentious draft law.

Barely a few minutes into the meeting, MPs started clashing.

It started with committee chair Raseriti Tau requesting members to take a few minutes to peruse the final report.

But the Congress of the People's Dennis Bloem seemed outraged and voiced his objections.

The Democratic Alliance's Elf Lees said opposition members only received the report on Tuesday morning.

Bloem called for another meeting and for more time to study the document.

The ANC officials slammed this, saying it would take the committee backwards.

To which Bloem responded, "I recuse myself from the meeting."

As Bloem and opposition MPs left the old assembly chamber, an ANC member said "bye bye."

The bill was passed by the National Assembly in November 2011.

The ruling party has made it clear that it does not intend on making any more changes to bill.

Critics of the bill believe, in its current state, the bill would allow corruption to flourish as whistle blowers face imprisonment.

All those that are found guilty of revealing state secrets could serve a 15-year jail sentence.

Most opposition parties and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) are against the bill.

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