In light of the current legal action being taken by presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj against the Mail & Guardian for what he claims are breaches of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act, coupled to the decision to proceed with all haste, and very little consultation, on the Protection of Information Bill, the very least South Africans can do is show their displeasure at the apartheid-style measures being mooted.

On Saturday Maharaj formally laid a charge against the M&G and two of its senior journalists, Stefaans Brümmer and Sam Sole, for infringing the NPA Act.

If ever anyone wanted to know what would happen on the ground when the secrecy Bill comes to town just take the measures in the NPA Act and multiply them a thousand times and you will get a fraction of its impact.

The NPA Act is a pussy cat next to the info Bill.

If you want to know why click on my earlier posts on the topic which show why ON THE GROUND this Bill is so deadly.

Would the government and others use it for interests other than national security?

Why do you think they have fast tracked it again and refuse to consult?

It’s certainly not because China and Zimbabwe are planning to invade.

A better question would be: Do you think the bill will be used in 2% of national security cases, as a defence to block 98% of corruption charges or is the percentage of national security cases still too high?

The National Press Club has organised a protest for Black Tuesday.

The ANC chief whip in Parliament, Mathole Motshekga, said on Monday that these plans were a senseless distortion of the facts. The problem is that, and I’ve begged for a debate between proponents and proper trial lawyers without success, the only thing that the proponents of the Bill have to offer are things like “these plans are a senseless distortion of the facts”.

Worse, when told we need a public interest defence, some moron suggested that Britain doesn’t have one as if this somehow forms the basis of a reasoned argument on the issue.

That is the level of debate that has been allowed so far.

My biggest bugbear — so-called legal fundis who welcome all the cosmetic changes made by the Protection of Information Bill committee which — ON THE GROUND — will be as much use as a BiC lighter at the bottom of a swimming pool.

I have pointed out why the ANC members, particularly future leaders, are going to be the worst victims of their own device and this is the only thing giving me a small crumb of comfort.

All it takes is for a Mugabe-like leader to hit the front and this democracy will be reduced to a dynasty while a handful, using the police, army and intelligence, keeps the country in the dark and the geniuses in power.

Meltdown in the “interest” of national security.

Media distortion?

First come out and debate then let the public decide, in full knowledge of the facts, who is distorting what and why.

Good luck with that if it ever comes to pass.


Michael Trapido

Michael Trapido

Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn...

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