National Key Points made public


Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s decision not to appeal a South Gauteng High Court ruling means South Africans can, as from today, know what and where the National Key Points are.

Although the list contains many key points already known as such, there are also omissions. Parliament, provincial, legislatures, presidential residences (including Nkandla), some airports, a number of power stations and the facilities of State-owned Denel industry conglomerate, Denel, and the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (NECSA) are listed as key points but omissions include police stations and magistrate’s court buildings, often said to be National Key Points by police in attempts to prevent photographs being taken, and national airports at Bloemfontein, East London and Port Elizabeth.

Senior government officials, including Cabinet Ministers, have in the past been guilty of transgressing the apartheid era National Key Points Act by making public the names of some. One example was Naledi Pandor, who during her term as Minister of Home Affairs, pointed out the Government Printer in the Pretoria CBD was a National Key Point.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj also crossed the line late last year when inviting the media to a function at Pelindaba where President Jacob Zuma would officiate. He told the media not to forget identification because they would be entering a National Key Point.

Security at National Key Points is a police responsibility but enquiries by defenceWeb have shown it is generally undertaken by the Key Point itself. As an example, at NECSA’s Pelindaba site west of Pretoria and home to the Safari nuclear reactor, security is contracted. The State-owned Airports Company of SA (ACSA), which operates all major South African airports, also takes security as an own responsibility.

In the wake of Guptagate many in government and the ruling party said the Gupta chartered private aircraft had landed at AFB Waterkloof – a National Key Point.

The Centurion air force base is not on the list, along with other military facilities such as Silvermine in Cape Town, Navy fleet headquarters in Simon’s Town, and air force and military bases around the country. They are apparently all deemed strategic military facilities yet do not make the National Key Points list.

Welcoming the release of the National Key Points list, opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Executive chairman James Selfe said his party will, in due course, submit a private member’s bill to repeal the Key Points Act in its entirety.
“We want it replaced by legislation that is appropriate to the South Africa of today,” he said.