Alison Tilley

Amend the Information Bill

The debate about the Secrecy Bill has shifted a little, from “OMG, what were they thinking” to a more nuanced discussion about what outcomes the civil-society coalition really want on the bill. This is less fun than the first debate, which was a love in where everyone agreed with everyone else, that something must be…

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Paranoid about the secrecy bill?

They say paranoia is just being in possession of all the facts. Clearly the minister of state security knows more than I do — he accuses us of “war talk” in relation to the secrecy bill. What? Not just that but we apparently have engaged in “personal attacks on members of the ad hoc committee…

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Classifying everyone and everything is not a sensible solution

In an Idasa seminar with Collins Chabane and other persons of note, he mentioned that other governments are very concerned about South Africa’s ability to secure their information. I had no idea. Of course, we all know about the concern around South Africa’s ability to manage its own information — late registration of births leading…

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Asking nicely…is a bad position to be in

According to current victims’ services policies in South Africa, victims of crime generally have the right to request information about the status of their case, but do not have the automatic right to receive that information without asking for it. So we currently place the burden on the victim to fill in a form, pay…

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Crime and empowerment

I met a really interesting Syrian football fan in Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape during the World Cup. His way of avoiding the apparently terrifying crime In South Africa was simple — he stayed in the Valley, in a tent to start with, and then moved to a chalet when he realised winter in…

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Noel Robb: One of the good ones

I met Noel Robb at a momentous time, for the country and myself. I had just decided to give up practice as a lawyer, and become what was known as the National Legislation Monitor at the Black Sash. I was not entirely sure what the job entailed, but reposed great confidence in a small group…

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Mbeki as tragic hero — not

I am as sentimental as the next person. Really, I am. And I did my Shakespeare at school, and I know the story about the tragic hero — a great man, with a fatal flaw. I love those Elizabethan tragedies, real and imagined: poor Mary, Queen of Scots, going bravely to her death in a…

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That cartoon

Rape. It is a hard thing to think about, and not usually the subject of cartoons. Did the Zapiro cartoon cross the line? And what is that line, anyway? I don’t think it crossed the line. Michael Trapido thinks it did, and argues (in his blog “Will Mondli fire Zapiro?”) that it did so for…

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Showdown at OK Corral… well, E249, New Assembly wing.

I am often baffled by what makes the news and what doesn’t. I mean let’s just assume for argument’s sake, we have a showdown between the longstanding chair of a legislative committee, and a member of the executive. Oh well, ok, it was Chauke and the Minister of Home Affairs. There is a whole ‘he…

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Games over, free Tibet

‘Games over, Free Tibet’ is one of the really good slogans coming out of the Free Tibet campaign. The campaign has got a lot of press recently. Mostly, of course, because of the useful insistence of the Chinese on parading the Olympic flame through cities in which there are a bunch of Tibetan exiles and…

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