Madiba’s words haunt ANC

2013-11-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A prediction by former president Nelson Mandela caused great consternation on the ANC benches during yesterday’s fiery debate on the National Keypoints Act.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said that in 1993, Mandela warned that the ANC might one day act in the same manner as the apartheid government.

“And here we are now. The ANC is misusing apartheid legislation to cover up its own misdeeds.

“It is interesting to see how quickly, unashamedly and unapologetically the ANC has misused this act, which the party previously treated with contempt, to gloss over its failings and do damage control,” he added angrily.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said there is no place in a constitutional democracy for a draconian law such as this one.

“It’s beyond belief that 20 years after the first democratic election, this law is still on the books,” she said.

She said it is for this reason that the DA had tendered a private members bill on the protection of critical infrastructure. “This bill could replace the current law in order to strike a balance between security, accountability and transparency,” she said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa accused Mazibuko and the DA of opportunism.

“The DA has known since May that an ad hoc committee is considering amendments to the National Keypoints Act.”

These amendments would be submitted to Parliament by the end of the month, he said.

“Every country needs laws to protect national keypoints. Keypoints can’t be delivered unprotected to terrorists.”

The Freedom Front Plus agreed with Mthethwa that keypoints had to be protected, said MP Pieter Groenewald. “Terrorism is a reality.”

However, the law had to be clear, with clear criteria for declaring a place to be a keypoint. “At the moment it’s as wide as the Lord’s mercy,” he added.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi accused the DA of trying to undermine the government. “Amendments are on the way. What more do you want,” he said, looking in Mazibuko’s direction.

Members of the IFP, ACDP, UCDP and Azapo also expressed their parties’ dissatisfaction with the legislation.

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