Issued by Daniela Ellerbeck on behalf of the FW de Klerk Foundation on 17/05/2024

Yesterday Parliament passed a very much reworked version of the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill (‘the GILAB’),” says Daniela Ellerbeck, the FW de Klerk Foundation’s Manager of Constitutional Programmes.

Earlier this year, the first version of the Bill (as tabled in Parliament by the Minister in the Presidency) had resulted in massive public outcries. This was because it would have allowed the South African intelligence services carte blanche to decide whom they wanted to subject to invasive vetting investigations.

In a success story of the power of public participation, Parliament listened to the people and made significant changes to the Bill, including the changes the Foundations requested Parliament make. This massive improvement on a Bill – that, at first, wanted to allow the State to be able to subject any Tom, Dick and Harry it chose to a security competency test and vetting investigations by the intelligence services – shows the success of public participation in safeguarding our democracy,” states Ellerbeck. “It shows the importance of civil society organisations, such as the Foundation, using their legal expertise to insist that the State respect the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it should respect, protect, promote and fulfil.”

The Bill will now go to the President for assent.

The FW de Klerk Foundation thanks everyone who participated in the public participation process.

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