R2K demands public list of secret ‘National Key Points’
By now it is well known that the Department of Public Works has invoked the apartheid-era National Key Points Act to try to stymie an investigation into the budgeted R203-million upgrade to President Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
It is the latest in a long history of strategic abuse of this draconian law to undermine the public’s right to know. The National Key Points Act provides wide-ranging and seldom-scrutinised powers to the Minister of Police to arbitrarily declare all sorts of places (from the President’s home to the Durban Harbour) as national ‘key points’ where Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and access to information are all severely restricted or no longer apply. (See R2K’s briefing: How the National Key Points Act undermines the public’s right to know)
The Right2Know Campaign believes that in all probability this law is unconstitutional and has provided too much cover to politicians and officials who want to abuse ‘national security’ imperatives to protect themselves and their actions from public scrutiny.
In fact, the law has been so widely and secretly employed since 1994 that it is virtually impossible for the general public to know which places have been declared National Key Points. The practical effect of this is that the full list of key points has itself, become a secret!
However, we do have the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and it is under this law that the Right2Know Campaign has, on Thursday 4 October, launched an access to information request for the Minister of Police to reveal the list of national key points across South Africa. Making this list publicly available will be the first step in challenging the misuse of this overly broad national security law.
For more comment, please contact:
R2K National Spokesperson: Murray Hunter (072 672 5468)
R2K Gauteng spokesperson: Dale McKinley (072 429 4086)
R2K KZN spokesperson: Desmond D’Sa (083 982 6939)
R2K W. Cape spokesperson: Nkwame Cedile (078 227 6008)
R2K E. Cape spokesperson: Thembani Zion Onceya (078 843 7489)
For other queries contact R2K National Coordinator Mark Weinberg (084 993 0591)