Secret State of the Nation Report 2014

Date: November 24, 2014
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The right to know – to access and share information, to organise, protest and speak out – is the foundation of a just society. Information rights were a driving principle in the struggle against apartheid, and at the centre of the democratic gains achieved in the 1990s. Twenty years into South Africa’s democracy, these gains appear to be facing greater limits.

There is a climate of secrecy. At the heart of this is an emerging trend towards
security-statist approaches to governance. An expansive ‘national security’ mentality encroaches on democratic principles by undermining accountability and protecting the powerful from scrutiny.

The best-known embodiment of this security-statist mentality is the Protection of State Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill), which sits on President Zuma’s desk, awaiting signature. Few laws have so focused the public mind on the problem of secrecy in our society and a resurgence of the ‘securocrats’.

But the Bill may merely be a symptom of a broader climate of secrecy and securitisation:
The use of secrecy to shield political actors, in particular President Zuma, from embarrassment and accountability; increasing limitations on protest, with an extraordinary spike in police violence as well as an apparent increase in the use of state-security policies such as the National Key Points Act.

This report’s findings highlight the need for greater transparency so that the public can monitor the use of state secrecy, as well as the need for a greater commitment to transparency both from the state and the private sector. These conditions have made it very difficult to even research this short report. But our findings also underscore the need for continued, unified action to resist a growing culture of secrecy and authoritarianism. The recent regeneration of information activism in South Africa must continue: South Africans must continue to challenge the increasing power and influence of the country’s securocrats.


Publisher: Right2know Campain
Year of Publication: 2014
Download : 19676_r2k-secrecy-report-2014.pdf

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