Key Points Act is be­ing ‘used to pro­tect cor­rup­tion’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JAN CRONJE

THE NA­TIONAL Key Points Act was used by the apartheid govern­ment “to wage war against our own peo­ple”, and was now be­ing used to “ad­vance cor­rup­tion”, op­po­si­tion lead­ers said yes­ter­day.

The con­tro­ver­sial leg­is­la­tion, in­voked re­peat­edly to keep se­cret de­tails of the R206 mil­lion “se­cu­rity up­grades” at Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s Nkandla res­i­dence, was de­bated in the Na­tional Assem­bly at the re­quest of DA par­lia­men­tary leader Lindiwe Maz­ibuko.

ANC speak­ers in­sisted the act’s pro­tec­tion of crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture was es­sen­tial and in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice, adding that it was in any case be­ing re­viewed to bring it in line with the con­sti­tu­tion.

Maz­ibuko, who ear­lier this week in­tro­duced a pro­posed re­place­ment for the aparthei­dera act – the Pro­tec­tion of Crit­i­cal In­fra­struc­ture Bill – opened the de­bate by say­ing the act had been passed at the height of apartheid govern­ment “para­noia”, and should be re­pealed.

“When the act was passed, it was done in re­sponse to what the govern­ment of the day viewed as sab­o­tage or ter­ror­ism. It was used to wage war against our own peo­ple,” she said.

The “un­con­sti­tu­tional” act should be re­pealed and re­placed with her pri­vate mem­ber’s bill.

This would in­tro­duce a board with the power to de­clare a site a key point, re­plac­ing the cur­rent power of a min­is­ter to do so. It would also make pub­lic a list of key points, which are cur­rently se­cret.

DA MP James Selfe said the act had been in­tro­duced by then jus­tice min­is­ter Ko­bie Coet­zee, “who sounded chill­ingly like the min­is­ter of po­lice to­day”.

He had jus­ti­fied the leg­is­la­tion on the ba­sis of at­tacks launched by op­er­a­tives of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we­Sizwe.

Cope leader Mo­siuoa Lekota said the act was be­ing used to “ad­vance cor­rup­tion” by the ANC.

In a heated speech, greeted with ap­plause from op­po­si­tion benches and heck­les from the ANC, Lekota said the act should be scrapped.

“To­day, as I stand here, I can hardly be­lieve what is be­ing done in the name of the ANC,” he said.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said Maz­ibuko was be­ing “op­por­tunis­tic” in in­tro­duc­ing her bill, as he had al­ready an­nounced a re­view of the Key Points Act in May. The re­view would in­clude a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process, set to be­gin early next year .

A list of na­tional key points would be tabled with the JSCI, Mthethwa said. This meant the list would not be open to the pub­lic, de­spite the pos­si­bil­ity un­der the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion of them un­wit­tingly break­ing the law by dis­clos­ing in­for­ma­tion about a key point. Mthethwa said the DA should have waited for this process to be com­pleted.

While parts of the act that were not in line with the con­sti­tu­tion would be re­pealed, “the Na­tional Key Points, as an act, is here to stay”, he said, to loud ap­plause from ANC mem­bers. It pro­tected “crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture and key re­sources”.

That many coun­tries had leg­is­la­tion to safe­guard crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture ex­posed “the DA’s lie” that it was an apartheid mea­sure.

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