On Wednesday 31 January 2018, the Right2Know Campaign will brief the Portfolio Committee on Police on why it rejects the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill.
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill seeks to replace the apartheid-era National Key Points Act. But while the National Key Points Act has promoted secrecy and undermined accountability and the right to protest, we believe the new Bill will do more of the same. We also believe that the Bill replicates the weaknesses of the Protection of State Information Bill and fails to protect people who expose secret information in the public interest.
- If the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill were law, hundreds or thousands of government buildings and private institutions could be declared ‘Critical Infrastructure’ (national key points).
- The lack of public consultation on the declaration of Critical Infrastructure is concerning. We find it problematic that neither the Minister nor the Council is required to engage in public consultation on a decision to declare a specific entity as “critical infrastructure”.
- There would be harsh criminal penalties for revealing ‘security measures’ at these sites – even in situations such as Nkandla, where the security upgrades were a matter of serious public importance.
- The Bill could ban the photographing, filming or recording of any aspect of a site that is declared to be’ Critical Infrastructure’ – not just the security measures – and we believe that this poses a serious threat to freedom of expression. This could make it a crime to take a selfie at Parliament, OR Tambo airport, or the SABC studios.
- The Bill goes beyond the National Key Points Act by putting in place harsh new penalties which could stop protests and labour strikes at sites that are declared Critical Infrastructure.
- We acknowledge several improvements in this version of the Bill, but ultimately it does not undo the damage created by the National Key Points and should be taken back to the drawing board.
Right2Know appears before the Parliamentary committee on police at 9:30AM, Wednesday 31 January.
Find R2K’s Submission on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill here.
For more comment, please contact:
Murray Hunter: R2K Secrecy and Surveillance Spokesperson – 072 672 5468
Busi Mtabane: R2K National Communicator – 083 329 7844