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“The act will give effect to the right to privacy, by introducing measures to ensure that the personal information of an individual is safeguarded when it is processed by responsible parties,” the Presidency said in a statement.
The new bill is intended to repeal an old apartheid law, the protection of information act of 1982, which is not in line with the democratic constitution.
The bill says it “seeks to balance the right to privacy against other rights, particularly the right of access to information, and to protect the free flow of information within and across the country’s borders”.
The Protection of State Information Bill, dubbed the “Secrecy Bill” by its opponents, aims to regulate the classification, protection and dissemination of state information.
South Africa’s National Assembly adopted the revised Protection of State Information Bill earlier this month.
In September, Zuma referred the Bill back to the assembly, citing two sections of the Bill he deemed “irrational and “unconstitutional”.
The review of the bill has improved protection for whistleblowers in one clause.
The controversial bill has been opposed by many civil rights groups in the country, including retired archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela’s foundation. Critics have said the bill could make whistleblowers who possess, leak or publish state secrets liable to 25 years in prison.
The ruling African National Congress has repeatedly argued that this is one of the most debated pieces of legislation in South Africa, incorporating many changes put forth by several civil rights groups.