DA challenges National Key Points Act

The DA plans to submit a private members’ bill to Parliament to nullify the National Key Points Act because it is inconsistent with transparency and accountability.

“The National Key Points Act of 1980 is a self-serving act that should be relegated to an apartheid scrap heap,” Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe said in a statement on Friday.

“It is for this reason that the DA will, in due course, be submitting a private members’ bill to repeal the act in its entirety and replace it with legislation that is appropriate to the South Africa of today.”

This comes after a list of national key points was released on Friday.

On December 3, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the Right2Know Campaign and the SA History Archive, and ordered the SA Police Service to disclose the list of protected areas within 30 days.

Selfe says although the list was made public, the process used to determine national key points was shrouded in secrecy.

The Mail&Guardian on Friday published online the list of more than 200 key points.

The Waterkloof Air Force Base, where 200 guests of the Gupta family landed in a chartered plane for a wedding in 2013, was not among them.

The residences of former presidents Nelson Mandela, FW De Klerk, and Thabo Mbeki were key points, as was President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, and his other properties.

All provincial legislatures were included, and projects such as the Square Kilometre Array telescope.

The main airports of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban appeared, but those in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and East London did not.

Petrol depots, pipelines, electricity infrastructure and the SA Reserve Bank were on the list, as was the SABC and its branches. Police stations were not listed.

Selfe says the National Key Points Act had been used to justify the burying of information relating to the use of public funds.

He says this included the R246-million spent on so-called security upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla property.

“Most concerning, section 10 of the act creates a criminal offence by prohibiting anyone from providing: ‘any information relating to the security measures, applicable at or in respect of any national key point or in respect of any incident that occurred there’.

“The DA has long held that the National Key Points Act of 1980 is an archaic apartheid-era piece of legislation that is not consistent with the values of openness and accountability,” said Selfe.

“Among the many problems of the National Key Points Act… the minister of police has sole discretion over what is considered a national key point without any checks and balances.”