IFP: Stop probe into Mandela 'spying'
Cape Town - The National Key Points Act needs to be administered "in a rational and sane manner", Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said on Monday.
He was reacting to reports that international news agencies Reuters and Associated Press were the subject of a criminal investigation for having set up cameras at the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
In terms of the act, the homes of former presidents are designated national key points.
Oriani-Ambrosini said it was intolerable that restrictions of this type still existed when such images could easily be taken from Google Earth.
"We call on government to immediately abort the criminal proceedings taken against Reuters and Associated Press, which make South Africa look internationally like a place in which human rights are not taken seriously.
"If charges have been pressed, they must be withdrawn at once. The cameras and footage which were seized must be returned to the media agencies and government must commit itself to no longer hinder media activities which ensure the right to know and be informed of people throughout the world," he said in a statement.
According to reports, police opened a case against the agencies on Thursday last week, having earlier removed at least two cameras from a house neighbouring Mandela's home.
Both Reuters and AP have confirmed that cameras they set up, apparently following Mandela's hospitalisation for an acute respiratory infection earlier this year, had been removed by the authorities.
Oriani-Ambrosini called for the law to be changed.
"It is... important that the National Key Points Act be either repealed or administered in a rational and sane manner which avoids listing as key points all that which may irk the political immaturity of those in power, including the houses of former presidents.
"I am sure that [former] president Mandela would be the first to abhor that measures of this type have been adopted ostensibly to protect him from the interest of the citizens of the world, who have for so long expressed love and admiration for him exactly for his unwavering defence of human rights," he said.