In the week the Right2Know (R2K) campaign went to court seeking the names of the apparently verboten National Key Points, the Presidency broke the rules and published the name of one ahead of a visit by President Jacob Zuma.
An advisory issued by Mac Maharaj noted Zuma would visit NECSA (Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa) on Thursday, with members of the media invited to attend.
“As this (NECSA) is a national key point, attending members of the media MUST bring identification documents for security purposes,” the statement reads.
On Monday the Cape Town headquartered R2K went to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to argue the case for South Africans to have access to a list of National Key Points.
“R2K and the South African History Archives (SAHA) will ask the court to set aside the refusal by the SA Police Service to release a list of National Key Points in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. We believe this basic transparency is an important step in countering the uncontrolled secrecy and potential abuse of South Africa’s national security policies,” the organisation said in a statement ahead of Monday’s court proceedings which ended with judgement being reserved.
Protection of National Key Points is now the responsibility of police, although in a number of instance defenceWeb is aware of, security is provided by either internal security or external security companies appointed by management/ownership of the National Key Point concerned. It was previously a military function and before the dissolution of the commandos, guarding sites such as NECSA and other key points was “home guard” function.
The National Key Points Act of 1980 and its 1985 amendment still remain on the Statute Book and R2K maintains the number of buildings, facilities and places listed as such has grown by nearly 70% in the past seven years.
R2K points out the Police Ministry last year said it would review the existing act “but so far no amendment bill has been introduced to Parliament”.
“Importantly SAPS has made it clear that they do not intend to table a public list of National Key Points and Strategic Installations as part of a Parliamentary amendment Bill, meaning Parliament should produce a law with no public list of the institutions and places which would be affected by the law.”
Last year then Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko tabled a private members bill regarding the protection of critical infrastructure which she wanted to see replaced the National Key Points Act. She has since left Parliament and is currently studying in the US so there has not been any progress in tabling the proposed legislation.