Parliament to debate Key Points Act

2013-05-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The  DA will finally get to debate in Parliament the secretive act on national key points. The party will also ask that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, in his capacity as leader of government business in the National Assembly, provide a list of these key points before the debate on June 6.

DA MPAnchen Dreyer, the party’s spokesperson on public works, said in a statement yesterday the debate was “a victory for parliamentary oversight, after the ANC initially attempted to stop the motion from being debated last term”.

The DA first requested the debate on February 27 after President Jacob Zuma and the Department of Public Works used the National Key Points Act “as a convenient excuse to prevent scrutiny of this expenditure [on the Nkandla compound]. Following extensive negotiations led by the DA’s Chief Whip, Watty Watson, in the chief whips forum, the programme committee has granted permission for the debate to go ahead,” Dreyer said.

She added that the National Key Points Act was “an archaic piece of apartheid-era legislation which has been used to justify the spending of more than R206 million on President Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, and then to keep secret the findings of a report to expose this corruption”.

Dreyer said after the Guptagate scandal, where it was confirmed that Water-kloof Airforce Base is not a National Key Point, “there seems to be a selective use of this legislation in order to protect the government from embarrassment”.

Constitutional expert Professor Pierre de Vos recently wrote on his blog “Constitutionally Speaking” that the National Key Points Act was introduced in 1980 “by the finger-wagging, lip-licking, PW Botha and his securocrats … to censor the media to prevent another embarrassing Info scandal — the act is a true relic of an undemocratic and oppressive past”.

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