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Madonsela to make submissions on info bill

Dec 15 2011 16:51 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will make submissions to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the controversial Protection of State Information Bill.

Thursday's announcement followed a meeting between Madonsela and ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga.

"The meeting afforded both parties an opportunity to clarify and understand each other's views on the draft legislation," Motshekga and Madonsela's office said in a joint statement.

"It was agreed that the Public Protector will make a submission to the NCOP ad hoc committee and subsequent public hearings."

Last week, Motshekga said it appeared that Madonsela might be interfering in Parliament's legislative process.

The ANC was concerned over recent correspondence she sent to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu about the bill, he said.

Madonsela denied she was interfering in the processes of the Assembly.

"I am not interfering, I am just doing my job, This is a huge misunderstanding and I hope we can sort this out," she was quoted as saying.

She had written to Sisulu expressing concern on why a public interest defence clause in the final draft of the bill had been left out.

Madonsela said she was concerned that if it became law, the bill would hinder the work of her office.

Earlier on Thursday the ANC and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) agreed to continue discussions on the bill.

This followed a meeting in Johannesburg between Cosatu and a delegation of ANC MPs, led respectively by Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Motshekga.

In a joint statement afterwards, the two groups said Cosatu had presented a document, which while confirming its support for legislation to protect national security and welcoming the improvements made to the original bill, set out its concerns with aspects of the current version of the bill.

"There was agreement that these concerns must still be discussed at both the National Council of Provinces and [tripartite] alliance levels."

It was agreed to establish teams from the two structures to continue detailed discussions and seek common ground, they said.

The bill was approved by the National Assembly on November 22 and referred to the NCOP for concurrence.

The NCOP has already set up an ad hoc committee to deal with the bill and has to report to the council by April 8 next year.

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