Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 226

Full Length Research Paper

‘Sanitized, made to lie supine and left fanged!’ The final version of the 2010 Protection of State Information Bill / Secrecy Bill, and its threats to the civil liberty of freedom of expression in South Africa

Luthuli Siboniso Prosper Welcome
  • Luthuli Siboniso Prosper Welcome
  • 511 Griffiths Mxenge Hwy, Umlazi, 4031, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 03 April 2016
  •  Accepted: 24 March 2017
  •  Published: 30 June 2021


Whilst the African National Congress (ANC, 2011) at the helm of the current South African government may have succeeded towards the end of 2013 in using its majority voting clout inside the country’s national parliament to forcibly push through the passing of the controversial and now infamous 2010 Protection of State Information Bill / Secrecy Bill, and thereafter declared it tame enough and ready to be gazetted into the country’s existing panoply of statutes, the reality of the Bill’s constitutionally-flawed and visibly-draconian state as it awaits to be enacted into law remains evident in its final version.  Using a descriptive analytical approach, this study undertakes a critical discussion on the aforementioned version of the Bill in order to demonstrate how its architects, the state’s team of securocrats and legal advisers should retrospectively be considered to have both intransigently and consistently resisted to implement a genuine redress on many of the issues which have been raised as concerns against it by its opponents and critics since 2010, thus leaving it in a state which continues to pose a variety of potential threats to the democratic civil liberty of freedom of expression enshrined in the country’s Constitution if enacted into law in its current state. In spite of a somewhat less-sanguine picture which is painted in the article about the Secrecy Bill, a positive conclusion, is however, reached to effect that various safeguard mechanisms contained in the country’s Constitution should ultimately be considered to provide adequate insulations against any future attempt(s) by democratically-elected governments in South Africa to arbitrarily enact any piece of legislation, including the Secrecy Bill, without facing stiff opposition and criticism from the country’s media and civil society.


Key words: Secrecy bill, Adhoc committee on the secrecy bill, classified state information, democratic civil liberties, freedom of expression, threats to freedom of expression, constitution-flouting, state securocrats, ANC-led government, and sufficiently-independent, publicly-accountable bodies.