Committee to examine 'Secrecy Bill'

President Zuma says there are problems with the draft law, particularly in two sections.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) protests against the Protection of State Information Bill. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament will now set up an ad hoc committee to consider President Jacob Zuma's reservations about the Protection of State Information Bill which was approved by the National Assembly in April.

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma referred the bill back to Parliament, saying it won't pass constitutional muster in its current form.

Zuma said there are problems with the draft law, particularly in two sections dealing with penalties.

The bill has been met with fierce opposition by a number of civil society groups and opposition parties who claim it could stifle media freedom and was thus dubbed the 'Secrecy Bill'.

Constitutional law professor Pierre de Vos says parliament needs to look at the bill broadly.

"If parliament is going to look broader then there might be a chance for further improvement of the bill which has already been improved considerably but is still in many respects problematic."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of State Security says problems with the contentious bill relate mainly to typographical errors that affect its meaning.

The ministry is clear the changes that need to be made are the result of typing errors which appears to mean these won't be substantial changes to the bill and its main impact could remain unchanged.