The Protection of Critical Infrastructure Bill passed its last parliamentary hurdle when it was adopted by the National Council of Provinces. Picture: Rogan Ward

Parliament - The Protection of Critical Infrastructure Bill on Tuesday passed its last parliamentary hurdle when it was adopted by the National Council of Provinces.

The bill, which will replace the apartheid-era National Key Points Act, was not opposed by the opposition. 

It gives the police minister the discretion to declare certain installations critical infrastructure and prescribes how these are protected in the interest of national security.

The bill has been on the watch list of media activists, who have called for the inclusion of a public interest defence to shield whistle-blowers and media who publish classified information to expose wrongdoing from prosecution.

They argue that like the National Key Points Act, which was famously invoked to cover up the lavish upgrades at former president Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home, its successor could be used to restrict critical media reporting.

Prominent media lawyer Dario Milo has submitted that the draft law risked the anomaly of criminalising the kind of disclosures that are allowed under the Protected Disclosures Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The bill will now to go to Presidency Cyril Ramaphosa for signing into law.

African News Agency (ANA)