Joint statement: R2K & SAHA welcome Police Ministry’s decision to release the National Key Points
The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the South African History Archive (SAHA) applaud the Ministry of Police’s decision to make the list of National Key Points public. This came after the Ministry withdrew its application for leave to appeal against the South Gauteng High Court’s order that they comply within 30 days with the request for records containing a list of the National Key Points, made in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA).
This decision is a small but significant victory towards our efforts of promoting the principles of accountability and transparency within the government. We believe this basic transparency is an important step in countering the uncontrolled secrecy and potential abuse of South Africa’s ‘national security’ policies.
“We’re delighted that SAPS have come to their senses in recognising that, as was well-demonstrated in Justice Sutherland’s judgment, they simply failed to comply with PAIA from the outset so really had nowhere to go with an appeal,” said Catherine Kennedy on behalf of the South African History Archive. “It was simply the type of knee-jerk refusal that has no place in a democracy that purports to be built on openness and democracy.”
“R2K intends to spread this information as widely as possible to ensure that the public knows where its rights are being undermined and challenge abuses of the National Key Points,” said Murray Hunter on behalf of the Right2Know Campaign.
“But the next step is to call for the Act to be repealed. We believe there is no place in our democracy for National Key Points and we’ll campaign to have the Act scrapped, not amended.”
We maintain that the blanket secrecy over which sites have been declared National Key Points has helped officials and politicians to use and abuse the National Key Points Act to undermine our constitutional rights. The secret implementation of the Act, in which decisions are taken behind closed doors in terms of vague and open-ended regulations, has contributed to a worrying resurgence of secrecy.
See the full list here.