It will soon be a criminal offence to photograph President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, his office and residence at the Union Buildings or any of the country’s over 200 national keypoints for “unlawful purposes
The offence could land one in jail for up to 20 years, according to a proposed Draft Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill, which is expected to replace the National Key Points Act.
However, the new law does not specify which “unlawful purposes” would constitute an offence. Last month, the Civilian Secretariat for Police published a proposed new law to bar people from photographing national keypoints, which include Zuma’s private and official residences, and those of his predecessors Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.
Other national keypoints include the Western Cape home of the last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, SABC facilities across the country, parliament and provincial legislatures. According to the bill, destruction of national keypoints, which the new law calls critical infrastructure, will be punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment.
The National Key Points Act became law in 1980 to halt the bombings and sabotage of key installations by liberation movements’ operatives fighting against apartheid.
The new law will make it a criminal offence to “take or record, or cause to take or record, an analogue or digital photographic image, video or film of a critical infrastructure or critical infrastructure complex with the intent to use or distribute such analogue or digital photographic image, video or film for an unlawful purpose”.
It will also be illegal to “take or record, or cause to take or record, an analogue or digital photographic image, video or film of a critical infrastructure or critical infrastructure complex in contravention of the notice(s)” preventing such.
Other installations listed as national keypoints are the SA Reserve Bank and PetroSA facilities, the State Security Agency’s communication centre, Eskom power stations, Transnet pipelines and international airports.
Acting secretary of police Phumudzo Rapea was not available for comment as he is out of the country, while another official contacted by Sowetan said she was not authorised to speak to the media.