London, [17 January 2011] – In December last year the first protest against the Protection of State Information Bill outside South Africa House in London saw over 100 South Africans, proudly dressed in their country’s colours, calling out against the secrecy bill, for more government transparency and an end to corruption. The response to this protest has inspired the event’s organisers to take the campaign global, and launch the international campaign against the Secrecy Bill called No To Secrecy.
The campaign is being organised via the Facebook Group called No To Secrecy by concerned South Africans living abroad including Pharside.co.uk blogger, Marky Warren, together with the Democratic Alliance Abroad (DA Abroad). Says Marky, “We’re showing South Africans back home that we’re not going to sit back and watch these things happen.” The organisers made it clear that this wasn’t a political protest, and that the issue affected all South African, and so plan to mobilise the global community of South Africans to ensure that as the bill moves before the NCOP (National Council of Provinces) the cries of South African citizens are at the foremost of their minds.
According to Ludre Stevens, DA Abroad Global Chairperson, “All South Africans, no matter where they live, including those living overseas, must stand up for their rights. We want to go back to South Africa one day and most of us have family back home that we care for. We will all be affected detrimentally by this Bill. This battle is not over. It has just begun.”
The campaign has three broad objectives:
- To put pressure on the South African government to stop the Secrecy Bill, as it currently stands, from being passed into law.
- To create international awareness of the draconian nature of the Secrecy Bill that the South African government is trying to make law.
- To give a voice to South Africans both at home and abroad, who care deeply about the future of their country.
The campaign centres on four weeks of protests that are being organised around the world during January and February. These protests will be held in the following locations:
New York City, US
Date: 21 January
Time: 11am to 12.30
Place: South African Consulate General. 333 East 38th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Date: 28 January (Further details to be confirmed)
Date: 11 February
Time: 11am to 12.30
Place: South African Honorary Consulate in Perth, Western Australia, Suite 3, 1297 Hay Street, West Perth WA 6005
London, United Kingdom
Date: 18 February 2011
Time: 11:00 to 12.30
Place: South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DP
The campaign organisers are encouraging all global South Africans to submit their protest photos to the No To Secrecy Facebook group – “we want to see photos of you, together with your friends and family dressed in your most “proudly South African” gear with black tape over your mouths to indicate the impact that the Secrecy Bill will have on South African society.” These photos will be compiled into a video demonstrating the full volume of voices against the Secrecy Bill.
If we don’t make a stand now, our country’s future could be one where the government can censor any information they deem to be in the “National Security” and make it a punishable offence to be in possession of that information. In November 2011 the South African House of Parliament voted in The Protection of Information Bill. This Bill will unstitch the very fabric of our Constitution and it will criminalise the freedoms that so many of our people fought for. But there is still hope. The Bill still needs to be passed by the National Council of Provinces and by the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma before it becomes law. We can ensure that it doesn’t. Join us and make sure that the South African government knows exactly what we, the people of South Africa, think of The Protection of Information Bill.
Make sure you’re informed. You can read the bill here: http://www.info.gov.za/?view/?DownloadFileAction?id=15131?9
Note to Editors
Videos and Pictures from the London demonstration on the 3 December:
About the DA Abroad
The Democratic Alliance Abroad Network (DA Abroad) is a group for DA supporters living outside the Republic of South Africa who want to make a difference by contributing to South Africa’s future. For more information on the Democratic Alliance Abroad please visit our website at www.da-abroad.org. If you would like to become more involved in the work of the DA Abroad where you live, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also “Like” us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/DemocraticAllianceAbroad) or follow the DA Abroad on Twitter (@DA_Abroad).
If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with DA Abroad Chairperson, Ludre Stevens, or Pharside Blogger, Marky Warren, please contact Francine Higham, DA Abroad Press & Media Liaison via email email@example.com