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Bill seeks to gag' civil servants

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MBABANE – Through the Public Service Bill, government seeks to stop civil servants from divulging information that is of a political or administrative nature.

The employees would be required to get permission from their authorities first, if they have to reveal any information about government.

This is contained in a government gazette dated May 4, 2012 on the Public Service Bill of 2012.

The Bill is now expected to go to Parliament for debate after which it has to go to His Majesty the King for assenting before it becomes an Act (law).

"Whether on duty or on leave of absence, a public officer shall not (except with due authority) allow oneself to be interviewed on questions of, or connecting with any matter affecting or relating to public policy, security or strategic economic interests or resources of Swaziland," reads the Bill in part.

Civil servants shall also not be allowed to act as newspaper editors for publications that do not belong to government, nor will they be allowed to directly or indirectly neither manage a newspaper ‘nor publish in any manner anything which maybe reasonably regarded as of a political or administrative nature’.

Section 8(c) adds: ‘A public officer shall not directly or indirectly reveal or use for private purposes, any information coming to the knowledge of the officer or required by the officer or the nature or the contents of any document communicated to the officer either in the course of the duties of that officer or in the capacity of that officer or in the capacity of that officer as an officer otherwise than in the proper discharge of the duties of that officer as authorised by law or the responsible officer.’

Responding to this stifling, NAPSAWU President Quinton Dlamini said: "That is also nonsense because it’s difficult to draw the line on information that is confidential or not.

"There is nothing private about government. All that they do has to be public.

"They use our money, so as citizens, we have to know how our money is spent.

Dlamini said the country’s constitution emphasises issues of transparency and accountability.

"Government can’t operate like in a cocoon.

"It means we won’t know what’s happening in government. In short, they’re closing down the press. It means everything has to come out through the Government Press Secretary," he said.

 

The civil service president said the media would find it difficult to break stories because government would demand that journalists divulge sources of information.


 

Comments

The devil cannot hide himself forever, his colours will show no matter what. These are the signs of the devil. Most of the governments devilsh thoughts are revealing themselves. Show all your colours government, we want all those who have been claiming not to see who you are, to see who you are!!!!

May 16, 2012, 10:32 AM, Dlamini Sicelo (skakadza@yahoo.co.uk)

Enforced silence/secrecy bill whatever u call it.
May 17, 2012, 11:04 AM, nonhlanhla (d_nonhlanhla@yahoo.com)

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