Yesterday, the ANC decided it would threaten its members who voted with their consciences against the passing of the Protection of State Information Bill in Parliament on Tuesday. Luckily and unluckily, the minutes of proceedings for the vote have to be released into the public domain showing exactly who voted for what.
After the National Assembly had voted to approve the controversial legislation on Tuesday, the minutes showed 229 MP’s voted in favour of the bill’s passing, and 107 voted against the Bill, with two abstentions. 34 ANC MP’s were also shown to be absent from the vote for a number of reasons.
Two ANC MP’s in particular, had consciences on Tuesday. Gloria Borman abstained from voting and party veteran, Ben Turok, snuck out of Parliament’s chambers just before the vote took place.
Clearly pissed off about this, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza had the following to say:
Everybody that has come out publicly to criticise the Bill and show their disapproval, be it in Parliament or otherwise, has shown a severe form of ill-discipline.
The ANC will discuss taking appropriate measures against members who are found to have been in opposition to the passing of the Bill and also engage the office of our chief whip in Parliament.
We believe it could have been handled differently by raising objection within party channels.
Turok, using his logic, spoke about his decision in an interview yesterday:
I will vote happily for something I believe in, however, we’re not at that stage. There are too many unknown factors.
Borman also used her logic:
I’m not a legal person, but there will be routes to follow [as recourse]. But [as] with most corruption, it’s usually the people on the ground – the poor people – that suffer and they don’t have the resources to follow these routes.
She also felt that the bill would hinder the reporting of corrupt officials – something that is rife at both local and national government levels.
Of course, the bill still has a few stages to get through before it becomes actual law: it will need to pass through the National Council of Provinces and, if approved, it will be taken to the Constitutional Court.
We expect more from our members, especially those in the National Assembly, to thoroughly understand legislation that is tabled in Parliament.
He was also not amused with the way in which the ANC’s WikiPedia page had been abused, saying it was “conduct that it not consistent with a civilised society.”
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