The recent decision by the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, to review the constitutionality of the National Key Points Act is both welcome and long overdue. The Act, a relic of the apartheid era, contains wide secrecy provisions that contradict the spirit of openness that our Constitution demands. Its anti-gathering provisions have been employed throughout its history against unions and civic organisations to undermine the public’s right to protest.)
We note that an earlier attempt to reform the National Key Points Act – the National Key Points & Strategic Installations Bill of 2007 – took an equally draconian and unjust shape.
If the Act is to be reviewed, it is crucial that there is full public participation in the process, to prevent the abuses of power and exclusion of critical voices that the Act has engendered. It is not enough for there to be an internal review of the law. There can be no meaningful public engagement until SAPS provides the information that civil society has called for: we reiterate our call for the Minister of Police to provide a complete list of National Key Points and Strategic Installations. (This is particularly vital given that the list of National Key Points has increased by 54% according to SAPS records – see R2K’s 2013 Secret State of the Nation Report.)
It is only when we know the full extent of the law’s use and potential misuse that the public can begin to tackle the layers of secrecy that have enshrouded the National Key Points over the past 30 years.
For comment please contact:
R2K Western Cape spokesperson: Nkwame Cedile (060 478 7563)
R2K Gauteng spokesperson: Dale McKinley (072 429 4086)
R2K KZN spokesperson: Desmond D’Sa (083 982 6939)