This article below was published by TimesLive:
TMG Digital | 2017-02-08 13:17:04.0
The public deserves to be given reasons for the unprecedented security clampdown being planned for the parliamentary precinct during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday‚ the Right2Know campaign says.
R2K listed the questions as: “What legitimate security threats exist that justify deploying the military? What functions will they perform? How many police are being deployed‚ from which areas‚ and what are the safety implications for communities that have fewer police on the streets as a result?”
The organisation further stated that the deployment of the army‚ as announced by the presidency on Tuesday night‚ “is part of a longer trend of securitisation and militarisation”.
“Each year‚ we have seen the securocrats ramping up ‘security measures’ around Parliament to new levels – and each time the public is told that this is ‘normal’. Hundreds of police‚ called from across the country to the streets around Parliament. Barbed wire and water cannons to meet protesters. Riot police to drag out troublemaking MPs. Signal jamming from the State Security Agency. Interference with the television and audio feed. Restrictions on the movement of journalists. Calling in the army is part of that trend.
“We are told that this is normal. But there is nothing normal about this.
“These are features of a clampdown‚ with the aim of shielding Zuma from political embarrassment and shutting out voices of dissent.
“It is not just in Parliament. It is on our streets‚ and in our communities. It is on our campuses too. These shows of force are the efforts of paranoid and fearful leaders‚ whose insecurity threatens everyone’s freedoms. And if we do not challenge the creep of securocratic tendencies into our democratic spaces‚ it continue until there is no democracy left.”
On Thursday morning‚ meanwhile‚ activists from R2K are planning to join pickets on highway bridges along the main arterial routes into Cape Town ahead of the State of the Nation Address‚ in protest against the R1 trillion nuclear deal that the government is said to have signed with Russia. The organisation says: “As citizens‚ we are concerned about the legitimacy of the procurement process since most decisions have been made behind closed doors.”