Competent government and officials must protect country’s infrastructure, not laws
29 August 2018
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill, which will replace the old National Key Points Act, will be useless as long as an incompetent government and incompetent officials are in control of South Africa's infrastructure.
A good example is the Sedibeng Sewage Plant where poor management and incompetence have resulted in the Vaal River being polluted. The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, is of the opinion that the problem can be solved if this waterworks plant is declared critically important infrastructure in terms of the new Act.
It will, however, not work as long as incompetent officials and poor management by the local government are the main cause of the collapse of the said infrastructure.
The new Act entails more security measures for the protection of important infrastructure. In the case of Sedibeng, however, the real threat is not sabotage. The plant is poorly managed by incompetent officials and, therefore, South Africa's water sources and natural environment are jeopardised.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation is supposed to make sure that his Department is managed properly. Neither the new Act nor the Minister of Police will be able to do anything about a department that is being mismanaged.
Concerning the former National Key Points Act, the excuse is that it must be done away with seeing as it is apparently an "apartheid law". And yet, ironically, it was the ANC government that abused the Act by hiding information from the public in order to protect the former president during the Nkandla saga.
In the abovementioned case, the minister decided what classified as a national key point and what not all on his own. And so, Nkandla went from being a national key point the one day to not being a national key point the next – depending on how it suited the ANC.
This has all changed thanks to the Right 2 Know campaign that forced the government, by means of a court case, to put forth a new law regarding important infrastructure.
The FF Plus supports the new Act seeing as the Minister of Police will no longer be able to make decisions arbitrarily. He will only be able to act in consultation with a council consisting of eight officials from different departments and five members of the public with security knowledge.
Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 29 August 2018