State of emergency: R2K seeks information on 'draconian' draft regulations

2017-12-13 20:20
SANDF (SANDF: AFP)

SANDF (SANDF: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) on Wednesday demanded that government shed light on proposed draft regulations for a state of emergency following media reports.

R2K announced in a press statement that it submitted information requests in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the SAPS and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

News24 sister publication Rapport reported on Sunday that the Presidency appointed a task team to compile the draft regulations. However, the Presidency on Tuesday denied its involvement in any draft regulations on the matter.

READ: Presidency rejects 'state of emergency' reports

News24 reported on Tuesday that it had seen documents from the SANDF's defence legal services division on the arrangements for a workshop on draft regulations to be used in the case of a state of emergency, including a document with draft regulations.

The Constitution and the State of Emergency Act prescribe the power to proclaim a state of emergency, with the accompanying regulations, to the president.

"R2K is outraged to see confirmation that a government task team has been working in secret to draft new state of emergency regulations – effectively to create preconditions for a future clampdown on public life in South Africa," reads the organisation's statement. 

Regulations would 'suspend political rights'

"There is no such thing as a 'good' state of emergency. But the draft regulations that are circulating are especially draconian."

R2K highlighted the following draft regulations:

  • A gag on "disruptive statements" – any statement which incites people to protest or take part in civil disobedience, or which promotes "feelings of hostility" towards any person, the government or the security services;
  • Provisions to effect an internet shutdown by switching off cyber and phone networks;
  • Empowering members of the security services to arrest or search any person if their presence or conduct "may endanger the safety of the public or the restoration or maintenance of peace and order".

"In other words, under a state of emergency, these regulations would suspend almost all political rights for people across South Africa," reads R2K's statement.

"The fact that these regulations have been drafted in secret, and to date no government bodies have owned up to their role, is especially outrageous."

Call for immediate scrapping of proposed legislation

"All of this suggests a ruling elite that fears its people; the securocrats in the state have shown that they are increasingly willing to resort to coercion and closing down the space for open dialogue and expression."

R2K said its PAIA requests were for records of deliberations on draft state of emergency regulations, including minutes of meetings and the draft regulations in their current form.

"R2K will continue its work to push back against securocrats tightening their hold on power. We will remain steadfastly opposed to any attempt to corrode our public sphere with bully tactics disguised as law enforcement."

The organisation called for the regulations "in any shape and form to be scrapped and abandoned immediately".

"This country's real emergencies are to be found in unlit streets where women fear to walk, in classrooms where the education system is failing our children, and in crowded settlements where land and housing and decent jobs remain elusive to millions of people.

"If the government cares for its people, these are the crises it must attend to," R2K said.

Read more on:    r2k  |  sandf  |  security

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.