Small minds crippled South African democracy

I’ve been reading a couple more stories both anticipating and discussing yesterday’s shameful vote to pass the Protection of State Information Bill in Parliament. There are some terrific quotes in these articles, all of which are worth reading:

Times Live’s article titled “The bitter triumph of small minds”:

If our parliament votes this bill into law on Wednesday, mark the day. It will signal the moment small minds obsessed with power triumphed over freedom.

Times Live’s article titled “Ruling party MPs should hang their heads in shame”:

Far from protecting South Africa from spies and “information pedlars”, as the securocrats would have us believe, this regressive bill will cause our nation incalculable harm.

Times Live quoting former president Nelson Mandela in a piece titled “An unequal contest with the truth”:

A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution.

It is only such a free press that can temper the appetite of any government to amass power at the expense of the citizen. It is only such a free press that can be the vigilant watchdog of the public interest against the temptation on the part of those who wield it to abuse that power. It is only such a free press that can have the capacity to relentlessly expose excesses and corruption on the part of government, state officials and other institutions that hold power in society.

The National Editors’ Forum released a statement anticipating the vote on the bill which included this quote:

Every MP who presses the green button to vote ‘yes’ for the Protection of State Information Bill will at that moment take personal responsibility for the first piece of legislation since the end of apartheid that dismantles an aspect of our democracy – a betrayal that will haunt them forever

I have also collated a number of stories leading up to the bill’s passing and subsequent analysis on Storify:


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