Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Ramaphosa signs critical infrastructure bill into law

By LOYISO SIDIMBA Time of article published Nov 30, 2019

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Johannesburg - A new law that will outlaw the publishing and distribution of photographs and videos of security measures at critical infrastructure installations has been given the green light by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which Ramaphosa signed into law this week, will repeal the apartheid-era National Key Points Act.

In terms of the new act, unlawfully furnishing, disseminating or publishing information on security measures applicable at critical infrastructure installations unless it relates to disclosure of unlawful activity or corruption is barred.

Any person found guilty of contravening the new law will face up to 20 years’ imprisonment or fines not exceeding R10million.

According to the act, it will be illegal to enter or gain access to critical infrastructure installation without the security manager’s consent or the person in control of that critical infrastructure, damaging, endangering or disrupting a critical infrastructure installation or threaten its safety.

Critical infrastructure installations, which will include more than one critical infrastructure installations grouped together for practical or administrative reasons, will be determined by Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Upon conviction of a person for damage or loss of property relating to a critical infrastructure installation, the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act will apply.

Lobby group Right2Know fought the new law, describing it as promoting secrecy, undermining accountability and the right to protest just as the apartheid-era statute it was now replacing.

All buildings currently declared national key points such as the Union Buildings, the official seat of national government, Ramaphosa’s official residence Mahlamba Ndlopfu, the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House and residences of former presidents are now deemed critical infrastructure installations.

Other critical infrastructure installations or complexes include Parliament, provincial legislatures, SABC offices nationwide, SA Reserve Bank offices across the country, international airports, power stations and other strategic state and private properties, among others.

All security service providers and security officers working in critical infrastructure installations or complexes will be vetted within three months after the act comes into operation.

Politics Bureau

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