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Right2Know goes to court over National Key Points list

The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the South African History Archive (SAHA) will be heading to the courts today in order to convince the South Gauteng High Court on why South Africans should have access to a list of National Key Points.

By using the argument for the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), the two entities will make their case as to why the list should be released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) – who has refused to do so in the past.

“Our call for a public list of National Key Points came after years of complaints from civic organisations that this security law has been used to undermine both the right to protest in public spaces, and the public’s right to know. The Act has been infamously invoked to justify the controversial R230-million upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s personal home in Nkandla, and to hamper efforts to bring the scandal to light,” R2K said in a statement.

National Key Points Act of 1980 (pdf) allowed for the protection of national strategic sites from sabotage as determined by the government, and was used under the Apartheid to secretly protect private as well as state-owned property.

The Act, also known as Act No. 102 of 1980, has remained unchanged since the 80s. Nowhere in the Act does it state that National Key Points have to be made available to the public – only that the Minister of Police can decide what is a Key Point.

“We maintain that the blanket secrecy over which sites have been declared National Key Points has helped officials and politicians to use and abuse the Act to undermine our constitutional rights. The secret implementation of the Act, in which decisions are taken behind closed doors in terms of vague and open-ended regulations, has contributed to a worrying resurgence of secrecy.”

[Source – R2K]

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