New 'key points' bill contains throwbacks to Apartheid-era legislation
A new bill being drafted to replace the controversial National Key Points Act has come under scrutiny.
The National Key Points Act is an apartheid-era law which protects various government buildings and properties around the country.
Parliamentarians have been debating its replacement, the Critical Infrastructure Protection bill, this week.
There are concerns that the new laws could restrict the work of journalists, with the media and lobby groups raising objections.
Currently, there are over 200 national key points across the country where public access is restricted.
The proposed bill restricts and criminalises protesting and other activities at national key points.
Investigative journalism unit amaBhungane has raised a number of red flags in the bill.
The NPO's Karabo Rujuli says that a clause in the bill imposes excessive criminal sanctions on journalists and members of the public who want to photograph national key points, or expose corruption there.
All journalists and the wider public should be concerned.Karabo Rujuli, Advocate coordinator at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
Historically, the Act has been used by apartheid government and democratic government as a way to hide information which should be in the public domain.Karabo Rujuli, Advocate coordinator at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
The current Bill before Parliament has repeated some of the weaknesses that were in the apartheid legislation.Karabo Rujuli, Advocate coordinator at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Bill is like a piece of security legislation, similar to the so-called Secrecy Bill and the Cyber Crimes Bill. They are pieces of law intended to secure certain sites and information.Karabo Rujuli, Advocate coordinator at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
The South African National Editors’ Forum has also made submissions raising concern over how the proposed Bill could affect journalists.
Violating the legislation could result in a hefty 30-year jail sentence.
Take a listen to the intriguing discussion: