A Speech by Hon Ms M. G. Boroto (MP) on the occasion of the Consideration of the Protection of State Information Bill [B 6B-2010] (Section 75)

29 November 2012

Honourable Chairperson
Honourable Deputy Chairperson
Honourable Minister Cwele
Special delegates
Ladies and gentlemen

I rise on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) to express our profound appreciation to the people of South Africa, especially the countless ordinary South Africans some of who are sitting in the gallery, academics, civil society and media fraternity who took part in the processing of the Protection of State Information Bill.

The Protection of State Information Bill will go down in history as one of the greatest demonstration of our commitment to democracy and public participation. This Bill resulted in one of the most comprehensive public participation and consultation processes this house has ever seen. It stimulated a great deal of theoretical and dialectical debate and political discussion. Workers in the factories, youth in the townships, social movements in their gatherings, activists, intellectuals, and cadres of our movement took the decision to rise to the call of national duty to assist in ensuring that this Bill builds on the ideals of our democracy and give expression to our commitment to break with our atrocious and divided past.

Today, we rise with utmost pride and humility to say thank you to all of you and present to you a Bill that carries you views and wishes. We rise to express our profound appreciation to the great masses of our people and all the individuals who took time in the processing of this Bill by joining our public hearings and wrote to our Committee to express their views.

Honourable Chairperson, the great stalwart of our liberation movement Isithwalandwe former President Rholinhlanhla Mandela once said: to be free is not merely to cast off one`s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of our people and the ideals of our freedom and the objectives of our movement”.

Expressing similar sentiments, the former General Secretary South African Communist Party (SACP) comrade Joe Slovo once proclaimed and described our commitment to remain champions of our democracy and the ideals of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa as “a commitment to ensure that the class content of the national struggle and the national content of the class struggle is informed by existing conditions that seek to advance both the democratic ideals and our commitment to transform the conditions facing our people”.

Indeed, today we can say without any fear of contradiction that we have lived up to these ideals. We did everything we could and within our powers to ensure that this Bill finds expression and resonance to the ideals of our democracy and that it gives expression to the views of the masses of our people.

This is the democracy that the ANC seeks to build and protect. As the ANC, we have shown to our people that despite the lies and misinformation spread by those who among us seek to undermine our indelible commitment to protect of our democracy, we remained steadfast in our unwavering undertaking to move forward on our national agenda to transform South Africa within the margins of our constitution and the ideals of our struggle for freedom.

There are those among us who within the limits of their conscious continue chose to paddle misinformation and systematic lies to our people about this process. We have seen how some of them stood before this august house to falsely and without shame proclaim that this Bill undermines the Constitution.

Honourable Chairperson, we want to put it the greatest of affirmations that the constitution of our country was informed by the lived countless experiences of our fight for liberation, freedom and democracy. It is not only embedded in our hearts, but will continue to be the framework for our national quest to transform this country. It is for this reason that we took the conscious decision to ensure that this Bill is embedded in our constitution asa cornerstone of our democracy.