The Minister of Police has missed the deadline (Thursday 28 February) to respond to the Right2Know Campaign’s information access request for a list of South Africa’s National Key Points. This is despite R2K’s granting of an additional 30-days extension after the legal deadline had lapsed. His failure to respond indicates a blatant disregard for the right to access information, and perpetuates the shroud of secrecy over information that is vital to the public interest.
R2K originally asked for a list of all National Key Points in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) on 4 October 2012 (see our statement here). However, the police initially refused our request. In December, R2K appealed this decision – in terms of the law, any appeal to a refused PAIA request must be considered by the relevant head of department, in this case the Minister of Police.
However, at the end of the 30-day deadline provided for in terms of the law, SAPS requested additional time to present our appeal and related information to the Minister of Police. Despite the clear deadlines provided for in the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the Right2Know Campaign agreed to a further 30-day extension so that the Minister could apply his mind.
The revised deadline, agreed to in the spirit of co-operation, has now passed without a response from Minister Mthethwa.
The Right2Know Campaign calls on the Minister to release this information within five days, by Friday 8 March. Should he fail to release the list by this date we shall embark on a national protest action at suspected Key Points and will explore our legal options.
About the National Key Points Act
The National Key Points Act is an apartheid-era national security law, which despite its draconian origins is increasingly being used by the state to stifle protest and restrict access to information. It gives the head of the SAPS the power to arbitrarily classify any place deemed significant to national security a National Key Point: the pro-secrecy and anti-assembly provisions in the law have been used to block important information from being released to the public, and have been used to restrict people’s constitutional right to protest. (See our full briefing here.)
Recently the Act was used to restrict information about President Zuma’s Nkandla residence, and last week NUMSA members were initially denied permission to picket outside the NERSA headquarters because it is a National Key Point.
The Right2Know Campaign recently reported that the number of national key points across the country had increased by 54% in the last 5 years, yet the public does not know where or what these buildings are. As a result of this secrecy, we do not even know where our constitutional rights are being limited! For more information, visit www.r2k.org.za/national-key-
For further 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 (060 478 7563)
R2K E. Cape spokesperson: Thembani Zion Onceya (078 843 7489)
For other queries contact R2K National Coordinator Mark Weinberg (084 993 0591)