To whom it may concern
I am writing this email to express my deep concern about the future of South Africa, the country of my birth. The Protection of Information Bill which comes before Parliament today is a grave threat to our fledgling democracy.
Powerful government is not built on secrecy, it is built on open access to information. This keeps the public servants in high positions honest and ensures accountability in the highest offices in the land. This is a democratic country, and the POI bill poses a terrible threat to it.
I have heard the claim, made by the ANC in the past two days, that the “media” are misrepresenting the facts about the bill, but I find that impossible to believe. It is not only the media who are clambering to have their voices heard on this matter, civil society from all corners of South Africa have been fighting against what is, essentially, an unconstitutional bill.
I understand the need for a State to have secrets, many things need to be kept secret to ensure the safety of the public. But how can you hope to escape the perception that this bill is about nothing more than protecting corrupt politicians if you refuse to include a Public Interest Clause?
Please don’t pass the POI bill in it’s current form. Listen to the people who voted you into power out of trust that you would keep their best interests at heart. Honour your promises to deliver broad-based consultations. Remember that you are supposed to be a government of the people, for the people, not a government pre-occupied with protecting it’s own interests and maintaining it’s grip on the coffers. Because that is how this Bill makes you look.
Perception is reality. And the perception this bill has created is that the ANC government is a corrupt behemoth intent on destroying the country that it governs by milking every last drop of capital out of it for fancy cars, great big houses and gold Rolex watches.
This is not right.
What you are about to do is a crime against your country.
Please, don’t do it.