Info bill sent back to Parliament

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday referred the so-called secrecy bill back to Parliament.

The Protection of State Information Bill. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday referred the so-called secrecy bill back to Parliament, saying it won't pass constitutional muster in its current form.

The Protection of State Information Bill was approved by the National Assembly earlier this year.

Zuma was expected to sign the bill into law this month.

The president told the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association that he had considered a range of submissions on the bill.

"After consideration of the bill and having applied my mind thereto, I am of the view that the bill as it stands does not pass the constitutional muster."

A number of civil society groups and opposition parties have hit out at the bill, claiming it could stifle media freedom by preventing the press form reporting on certain issues.

Earlier this year, the Right2Know campaign and other groups vowed to take the matter to the Constitutional Court if Zuma signed the bill into law.

The proposed law changed significantly over time, but organisations said it still lacked the vital public interest defence clause and threatened South Africa's democracy.