Flaws in 'secrecy bill' need to be addressed

FXI says there are many fundamental flaws in the so called 'secrecy bill' that have to be addressed.

Democratic Alliance leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is seen marching with others to parliament against the so called secrecy bill. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says there are many fundamental flaws in the so called Secrecy Bill that have to be addressed.

On Thursday President Jacob Zuma announced that he won't sign the Protection of State Information Bill into law because some sections lack coherence and meaning.

In a letter to the National Assembly speaker, Zuma said two sections in particular won't pass constitutional muster.

But opponents of the secrecy bill want parliament to re-look at the bill in its entirety.

The FXI's Phenyo Butale says there are a number of problems that should be addressed.

"That includes that lack of a full public interest defence clause, which would indeed have a negative impact in the proper running of our democracy and for people like whistle blowers and journalists."

Reaction continues to pour in on the decision by President Zuma.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been speaking at the Association of Independent Publishers Conference in Boksburg.

She says the media has helped her office perform its core functions and needs to be properly protected.

"In the same way that the media protects society, society has to protect the media. The media protects society by opening our eyes to possible wrong doing."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said it wants clarity on President Jacob Zuma's letter referring the so-called secrecy bill back to Parliament.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says it is not clear from Zuma's letter whether amendments to be considered are limited to just sections 42 and 45.

She says even if those sections are reworked, the bill remains unconstitutional.