Zuma passes 'spy bill'

2013-07-25 18:14
Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has signed five bills into law, his office said on Thursday.

These include the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Act, also referred to as the "spy bill".

"The main purpose of the bill is to amend three acts of Parliament, which relate to security services and to repeal an act which had become obsolete due to the consolidation of the intelligence structures," it said in a statement.

"The three acts being amended are the National Strategic Intelligence Act, 1994, the Intelligence Services Oversight Act, 1994, and the Intelligence Services Act, 2002."

The bill was not without controversy, with the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) opposing it.

"While we welcome some of the amendments proposed by the [parliamentary] committee which, for instance, make it more difficult for securocrats to monitor lawful political activity, we remain concerned about the unregulated interception of foreign signals," R2K said in a statement after the National Assembly passed the bill in April this year.

The dangerous weapons bill was also enacted. It empowers police to arrest people carrying dangerous weapons in public, including during protests.

Police officers will be given the discretion to decide whether there is a reasonable suspicion that a weapon could be used for unlawful purposes.

They will be able to crack down on protesters brandishing firearms, bricks, glass bottles, spears, or any object, which could be used to harm someone or damage property. The use of toy guns to commit a crime is also covered under the proposed law.

Other bills signed into law are the National Health Amendment Act, the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act, and the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act.

Read more on:    right2know  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  politics

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