DURBAN- Civil society staged a vociferous protest against the eThekwini's Municipality's proposed media gag by-law on Wednesday.
Despite the incessant rain, about 50 people representing an array of civil society groups protested outside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre
where the eThekwini Municipality councillors converged for a full council meeting.
High on the agenda at the full council meeting is the Rules of Order Amendment By-Law which if passed will give officials the powers to ban the media from covering some city council meetings.
Civil society believes that the amended by-law will could spell the end of transparency and good governance in the in the city.
Annie Dhyanand from the Chatsworth Poverty Alleviation Body said:” I am totally against it. I am a ratepayer and I have a right to know what's going on in council… I am very angry.”
She said the bylaw went against transparency.
“They must not take us for weaklings,” said Dhyanand.
Verushka Mendutt from the Market Business Committee said she was surprised by the proposed ban as they would regularly with the municipality.
Mendutt whose organisation was present under the South African Informal Trades forum said:
“We are part of the most vulnerable members of society… and this will be closing the door on us.”
Yashica Padia from the Active Citizens Movement said the protest had been supported by 22 civil society organisations.
“The public will be kept in the dark about issues that affect us as ratepayers,” Padia said.
Padia hoped that the by-law would not go through.
If it did, then they would be prepared to take the matter to court. “We don't want to do it, but if we have to, we will,” she said.
The proposes amendments went against the constitution of South Africa Padia said.