Cape Town - The South African Presidency on Tuesday rejected media reports that President Jacob Zuma had started composing draft regulations for a state of emergency.
In a statement, the Presidency said: "The Presidency rejects the media reports alleging that The Presidency has started composing draft regulations for a state of emergency and that President Jacob Zuma has appointed a team to draw up such regulations.
"The Presidency is not working on regulations for a state of emergency."
The statement comes in response to an article by Rapport which claimed that for the first time in 20 years the Presidency has started to compose regulations for a state of emergency.
Rapport claims to have seen the draft regulations in terms of the State of Emergency Act 64 of 1997.
"In terms of these draft regulations, any security official will have far-reaching powers to act within his or her own judgement, arrest people, search property or cut communication channels such as cellphones or the internet," the report stated. "The Constitution allows the president to declare a state of emergency when war, invasion, revolt, natural disasters or other dangers threaten the nation's safety."
According to the media report, apartheid-era president PW Botha declared such a state of emergency on July 25, 1985, when anti-apartheid activists were held captive in unknown places for undetermined periods. At least 575 people were killed within six months of this announcement.
African News Agency/ANA