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Emergency: Stop the Secrecy Bill Today!

To South African MPs and the Government:

As citizens across South Africa, we call on you to protect our Constitutional commitments to accountability, freedom of information and the media in the "Protection of Information" Bill. We urge you to ensure that the bill only applies to core state bodies in the security sector, and that intelligence agencies are held to account by public scrutiny. Secrets with a bearing on national security must be determined by an independent panel appointed by Parliament and not the Minister of State Security. Penalties for unauthorised disclosure should apply only to those responsible for keeping secrets, and investigative journalists and legitimate whistleblowers should always be protected to release information in the public interest. Our democracy was hard-won, and we will not give it up lightly.

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After calling, post a message to the right about how the call went -- to help Avaaz count the number of calls made, and demonstrate the wave of national protest to this bill being tabled -- we will give the numbers to the media.

We literally only have hours now to stop the Secrecy Bill -- the National Assembly is called to vote on it this afternoon.

Call Chief Whip Dr. Motshekga's office: 021 403 2288 or 021 403 2280 or 021 403 3860

Call Deputy President Mr. Motlanthe's office: 021 403 2353 or 021 403 2635

The other Chief Whips:

Call Chief Whip Mr. Magwanishe's offices:
Cape Town -- 021 403 2211 // Constituency -- 011 873 7753


Call Chief Whip Ms. Ntwanambi's offices:
Cape Town -- 021 403 2429  // Constituency -- 021 785 4610


Call Chief Whip Mr. Davidson's office: 083 302 2199

If you get a busy signal, don't stop calling. That means we're jamming their phone lines and the pressure on them is rising!
If it just rings -- please try again later or send an email to: infobill@parliament.gov.za and idavidson@parliament.gov.za, gmagwanishe@parliament.gov.za, mmotshekga@parliament.gov.za, nntwanambi@parliament.gov.za, and for the Deputy President: vcalvert@parliament.gov.za

We stopped it last time -- after over 35,000 of us sent messages to the Chief Whips and thousands of us took to the streets two months ago, they postponed the vote. Now, the unchanged bill is being pushed back to the floor after a sham public consultation this weekend that was only announced on Friday evening, and the ANC majority could force it through!

The same Chief Whips have the final word on the vote today -- if we call on them and Deputy President Motlanthe, the one outspoken ANC MP, we could block this shockingly regressive bill. Call the Chief Whips' and Motlanthe's offices now to halt the vote and protect our democracy -- it'll only take 5 minutes. Let's give them the public consultation that they have ignored:

Suggestions for your call:
  • Say that you want the ANC to halt the vote and throw out this draconian bill that puts a shroud over government and undermines South Africa's hard won freedoms.
  • Say that the public consultations were a last minute sham and you expect the process to be revised and a real public consultation to take place as promised by the Chief Whips in September.
  • Say you specifically object to a Secrecy Law that: gives up to 25 year jail sentences for anyone holding classified information; removes any protection for whistleblowers; has no public interest clause; and has no independent appeals mechanism.
  • Appeal to Deputy President Motlanthe to use his powers to halt the vote until a public interest defense clause is included as he announced earlier this month.
  • Ask Chief Whip Davidson to bring the citizens messages to the floor of the debate.


There are emergency pickets planned around the country today. Click here to find one nearby!

Posted: 21 November 2011