Apartheid-era act used to ‘justify’ spending

Comment on this story


ST_sa prison pic0

INLSA

PRISON SECURITY: A police van and an emergency paramedic vehicle arrive at the Groen Punt correctional services prison in Vereeniging, in response to an alleged riot that broke out there. Members of Parliament and public officials use the National Key Points Act to justify the unjustifiable, says the writer. Picture: Antoine de Ras

When Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi sought to justify the expenditure by his department of R240 million on renovations to the president’s private residence, he reached for the National Key Points Act.

And when the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, Vincent Smith, sought to justify the destruction of photographs of warders beating a prisoner, who later died, he too resorted to the National Key Points Act.

He argued that the photographers had committed a crime by taking a photograph at a “national key point”. The correctional services officials, he said, were merely enforcing the act.

The invocation of the National Key Points Act by MPs and public officials to justify the unjustifiable is not only a sad twist of history, but leads us down a rabbit hole of absurdities.

The National Key Points Act was passed in 1980 to give the minister of defence very broad authority to “declare” any place in South Africa a national key point “if it appears to the minister at any time that any place or area is so important that its loss, damage, disruption or immobilisation may prejudice the Republic…”

The act not only allowed the minister to decide which locations should be declared key points (whether state- or privately owned); but also to enforce security measures at such places (whether at the cost of the state or the private owner) and to allow for the appropriation of funds into a special account for securing key points.

The act is vague about what constitutes a declaration of a national key point – requiring only that the minister of defence inform the owner in writing that the property or properties or facilities have been declared a key point. There is no requirement for the minister to inform Parliament, or the public, about the declaration of a key point, nor does the minister have to account for his or her decision to make any place one.

It is also not specified whether or how records should be kept of which places have been declared national key points. There is also nothing in the act that says the identity of national key points is to be kept secret, and therefore no apparent basis on which to refuse public access to such a list, if indeed it exists.

In 2004, the president (Thabo Mbeki) signed a proclamation (in terms of Section 97 of the constitution) passing authority of the act from the minister of defence (Mosiuoa Lekota) to the minister of safety and security (Charles Nqakula). This was in recognition of the fact that the security situation in South Africa had dramatically changed since the 1980s.

External military or “terrorist” threats to sensitive installations (like nuclear facilities and power plants) were no longer of primary concern. In 2007, the minister of safety and security released a bill aimed at updating and revising the National Key Points Act. However, the bill is still in an early draft and the apartheid-era act still in force.

What this means is that in terms of the law the minister of police could, for argument’s sake, decide that his own house was a national key point. He would be obliged to tell no one that he had declared it a key point, and could theoretically go about spending money from the special account (provided for in the act) on the house to secure it without having to justify why.

While, according to the act, the account would be audited by the auditor- general, the AG would presumably not be able to question the minister’s decisions or allocation of funds. Under apartheid, the act thus allowed the minister of defence to do as he pleased without having to be held accountable.

It is this absence of accountability for the decision to declare places national key points and spend public funds that means the act is antithetical to democratic accountability, and probably unconstitutional. It offers unscrupulous politicians enormous scope to decide what exactly constitutes an illegal or criminal act in relation to a national key point, additionally highlighting the absurdity of the existence of such a law in a democracy.

Smith alleged that taking photographs of national key points was a criminal offence – yet there is no reference in the act to this being an offence – and there exist no regulations to the act in which this may have been specified. If there are such regulations, they are not publicly available or accessible.

It is for this reason that constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos has argued that the National Key Points Act “is almost certainly” unconstitutional, given that it creates criminal offences relating to key points, but we have no idea which properties have been declared key points and therefore are unable to comply with the law, because we are not allowed to know what the law has prohibited. “On this ground alone, these provisions cannot stand.”

Yet it is precisely the fact that key points are unknowable that makes it the perfect excuse for otherwise unjustifiable acts. It is also far from clear why a prison, in the current dispensation, would be declared a national key point at all.

Prisons are by their very nature secure facilities; and the Department of Correctional Services is not only responsible for securing them, but also allocates a significant portion of its budget each year to do so. So it seems odd for the minister of police to be given additional powers to ensure that prisons are secured and safeguarded.

It is troubling that the act has not been repealed or revised and is now being used to shield politicians and state officials who may be involved in corruption and other crimes. Indeed, it is shameful that an apartheid-era act that so clearly undermines the rule of law is used by our public representatives and government to once again undermine transparency and accountability.

l Gould is a senior researcher in the governance, crime and justice division of the Institute for Security Studies


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Newspaper Subscriptions
liefilyf
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
ShanJo
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
sonskyn27
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Maybe70
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Vredelief
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 34.
View Profile
BMull08
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Lala8610
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 32.
View Profile
Girlonabike
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
EMT2014
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
CTBLONDE
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Sonskyn83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Mo1979
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 43.
View Profile
Lesel
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Biancs_79
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Chriz_1985
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Enkellopende
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 43.
View Profile
Chrissi8
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 50.
View Profile
Helene777
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Smurfette
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
JustChat76
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Tasja_226
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Bebe1000
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 57.
View Profile
TuffLove
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Butterfly_effect
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 48.
View Profile
Artistixoxo
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 28.
View Profile
Lady_101
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Angdt
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 30.
View Profile
klouise
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 39.
View Profile
AgentI
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Liefieling86
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 32.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 44.
View Profile
Leigh1979
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Bastet_11
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 48.
View Profile
Foreverinhope
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
Gemima
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Apple_853
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Pussycat69
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Jenny84
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 40.
View Profile
Crispy990
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 24 and 35.
View Profile
Vuurvliegie1974
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 47.
View Profile
SheBear
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 51.
View Profile
dragonfly86
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
jinxie_007
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
Dollie81
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
Moze008
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
KW82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Plattelandsenooi3
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
your_wildest_dreams
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
sweets1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
MissMoneypenny_13
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Bluelily77
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 50.
View Profile
LielaZ
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
GlasswingButterfly
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 55.
View Profile
miesies
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Bienkie01
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 48.
View Profile
Persephone101
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Hopeful_dreamer
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
PowerPrincess
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 47.
View Profile
Sale_0084
I'm a 58 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Rarefind
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 52 and 63.
View Profile
esk123
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Mickey101
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
sexyhair
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Doeksa
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 39.
View Profile
FootballCrazy
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 50.
View Profile
Bluebell531
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Authenticity1425
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 47.
View Profile
Dee37
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Optimistic2014
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
meraai_32
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
Liena
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 33.
View Profile
Cathwhite
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Isabel_33
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 42.
View Profile
JillieB
I'm a 61 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
JanieL
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 32.
View Profile
FoXyLaDy444
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
FaiRy9
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Unicorn17
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 26.
View Profile
Minky3001
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
Fire_and_Ice81
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
NotADog
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
0044MJM
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 48 and 61.
View Profile
GypseyTraveller
I'm a 54 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 58.
View Profile
Blu
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 33.
View Profile
optimistic_36
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 46.
View Profile
HenrietteF
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
LimitlessSoul
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Denie_28
I'm a 50 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 53.
View Profile
RobzMolecule
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
LJC777
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
nirina
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Warmsmilewarmheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Smileawhile
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Kay_722
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
capenewbie
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Kelbels0201
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 42.
View Profile
Okidoki_63
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
fabstanious
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Infin8
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Judith78
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
LEANMAN
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
LovingSerenity
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 45.
View Profile
kannieworrynie
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Ryno_56
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 34.
View Profile
BENTLEY292
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
VirgoMan1970
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
dddmelw
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 58.
View Profile
rjscm
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Ironstein06
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
Fred58
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Lastgreatwhite
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
brightday111
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 59.
View Profile
ScottRanger1987
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Suidwester27
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Propriety
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
TLS11
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Agent_K1
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 40.
View Profile
lvebird53
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
pieterl
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 62.
View Profile
jsetrader
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
JPretoria
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
Denali
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
dinnerfortwo
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Lonomor
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
pinsnow
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
tommy351
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 59.
View Profile
charl1906
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 53.
View Profile
reinor
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 61.
View Profile
cknneth111
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile
Officer_Gentleman
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
TheRealMrRight
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Firefox_771
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 56.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
Jericho2010
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
naughty_sporty
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
ClassicRocker
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
BossMorne
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Stand64
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 55.
View Profile
Natural123
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Bruce_308
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile
Yvard
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 44.
View Profile
Alachison
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Fitwithhealth
I'm a 72 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 65.
View Profile
breeze001
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
6s6s6s
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
karooboertjie15
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
henisright
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 53.
View Profile
freddic1
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
gavinzn
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
Ons2alleen
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 29.
View Profile
willing_915
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
captainkid
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 56.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
zachki
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 55.
View Profile
HappyEnding
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 45.
View Profile
DutchDelight_
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 46.
View Profile
virgo5
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
SingleNSearching60
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
Ivanro
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Smartboy_102
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 57.
View Profile
Banker009
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 46.
View Profile
Dn212
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Coolfun
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Lovelyn111
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 51 and 63.
View Profile
JustCallMeBwana
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 45.
View Profile
Stdave
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
ekke_706
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
jacuwig
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 25.
View Profile
DaveB_791
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Natureboykie
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 43 and 64.
View Profile
Zest4Life021
I'm a 75 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 60.
View Profile
Andy_Leo
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
MLACOME0147
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 79.
View Profile
TallDreamer
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 38.
View Profile
daniel101
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 38.
View Profile
5star
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
wiedahunk
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 70.
View Profile
FamilyMan72
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 43.
View Profile
goldenhat
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 66.
View Profile
Guardian_24
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 43.
View Profile
Gambino_Family
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 70.
View Profile
Brend86
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 32.
View Profile
cccdovy
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
stumpjumper
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
plodof
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
versl_550
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
OohCharles
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Lockstep
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 49.
View Profile
Marius_P
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
Peanutbutter1966
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 48.
View Profile
CL4ptp
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
KTM1190A
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 58.
View Profile
richy10
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 70.
View Profile

Business Directory