Police mum on key points ruling

2014-12-03 14:01
Right2Know activists (File, Lohanna Hoffmann, Beeld)

Right2Know activists (File, Lohanna Hoffmann, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - It was unclear whether the police ministry will challenge Wednesday's court ruling that it disclose the names of 200 national key points.

"We will comment at a later stage, but not today," police spokesperson Musa Zondi told Sapa.

The South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the SA History Archive (Saha) and ordered the SA Police Service to disclose the list of protected areas within 30 days.

The legal battle came after police refused to disclose a list of key points two years ago.

During the court proceedings last week, the State argued that disclosing the key points would put the country's security and defence at risk.

Key points can’t be photographed, identified

Forming the basis of the R2K and Saha's case was the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia).

R2K said civic organisations had complained that the secrecy surrounding national key points had been used to undermine the right to know and to protest in public spaces.

National key points may not be photographed or identified as such, and are understood to include military installations and services or factories considered strategic.

Delivering his judgment Judge Roland Sutherland said it was "unlawful and unconstitutional" to not reveal the key points.

He ordered police to pay the legal costs of the groups.

Sutherland gave no further details of how he reached his verdict.

Following court proceedings, which lasted less than five minutes, R2K members in black and red T-shirts broke out in song outside the court.

"It's a complete victory. We've been vindicated," R2K spokesperson Dale McKinley said.

Taxpayers denied information

By not knowing what the key points were, taxpayers were being denied information on how their money was being used, he said.

"We also want to know why these places are classified as national key points."

The R2K was against the existence of national key points.

McKinley said it would have been better if security processes were put in place for these areas, instead of them being declared key points. The security restrictions would be respected.

Last May the police ministry said the National Key Points Act was being reviewed.

"The release of this information is the first step in the process," McKinley said.

Read more on:    right2know

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