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South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act 118

Posted by timothy
from the let-it-not-be-said-that dept.
New submitter Hermanas writes with the story that South Africa's parliament has passed a Protection of Information Bill which could land whistle blowers and journalists who print classified information in jail for up to 25 years. From the Telegraph: "On the morning of the vote, a joint editorial in the country's largest newspapers heralded [a South African] 'day of reckoning for democracy.' 'The spreading culture of self-enrichment, either corrupt, or merely inappropriate, makes scrutiny fuelled by whistle blowers who have the public interest at heart more essential than ever since 1994,' the front page editorial said. As MPs voted on the bill in Cape Town's parliament, protesters dressed all in black gathered at the gates of the historic building where they were addressed by editors and freedom of information activists."
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South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:23PM (#38138890)

    So please, hackers of the world, we need you to bust Zuma and the security apparatus in South Africa wide open, and publish on behalf of the people of this country, who have had their hopes dashed by a hopelessly corrupt government. Let the secrets which gave rise to this bill come to light!

  • Re:Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beuges (613130) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:46PM (#38139268) Homepage

    Zuma was already not looking good a week ago, when his official spokesman, Mac Maharaj, laid charges against the Mail & Guardian, compelling them to redact about 70% of an article they were going to publish outlining how Maharaj lied during an in-camera hearing into corruption surrounding the infamous arms deal. Rather than defend himself, Maharaj's viewpoint is simply that the publication of in-camera evidence is against the law, so the M&G is breaking the law. Hasn't provided any sort of defence against the allegations of corruption against him.

    And this is exactly what the protesting against the POIB is about. The ANC has viciously resisted even the thought of adding a 'public interest' clause to the bill, meaning that evidence of corruption and lies, like in Zuma's spokesman's case, can be classified, and then rather than the corrupt person being held accountable, the journalists go to jail, for exposing corruption that the government is helping to hide.

    Zuma and his cronies haven't looked good for a while. If they were serious about their claims to want to fight corruption, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on passing a law that hides the evidence of that corruption. The minister of Intelligence was implicated in fraud involving travel allowances a few years back. None of the ANC MP's have been charged or even fined. He's the one that drafted the initial bill.

    My personal opinion, as a non-white who grew up in the last two decades of apartheid, is that the ANC government is worse for the people of this country than the apartheid one. At least with the Nats, you knew that if you were black, you were gonna be held back - it was government policy and they were open about it. With the ANC, they're keeping their own people back for their own selfish gains, blaming the 'legacy of apartheid' for their peoples misfortunes, when their people remain poor and uneducated purely due to the corrupt, selfish ANC government in power.

    It's a tragedy.

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:00PM (#38139436)

    Another expat... absolutely agree.

    For the record.. I am of Indian descent, and while never had it as bad as the blacks, we certainly detested apartheid.

    SA is basically a country run by ideological corruption right now. While blacks make up 80% of the population and almost everyone agrees a certain amount of transition in terms of 'affirmative' action is a good thing given history it is being done in such an impractical way.

    People are literally being handed positions of power with absolutely no qualifications. And of course this is coming down to massive corruption. It rarely goes to help the poor needy black family. The benefits tend to go to well connected black families who don't really need the help.

    Then you have the massive entitlement mentality. The biggest problem here is that 80% of the population is black. And unfortunately, a large percentage expect all the services for free. A simple example is electricity. They don't want to pay for electricity. They expect it to be subsidized by the other 20% of society. You can't run an electrical system that way. It's not like all the Indians or whites are rolling in money to subsidize it that way.

    So it's no surprise the government tries to crack down on whistle blowing. The whole country and government is based on corruption.

    It's a country doomed to run into the ground left to its own merits. There is hope though. China is heavily involved and at least keeps goods flowing... and they're relatively untainted by a colonial past in Africa.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:25PM (#38139770)

    I would have expected this here in the U.S. or China, not South Africa.

    Why would you not expect this in South Africa? Are black-majority governments inherently more honest than those dominated by other races?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:26PM (#38139792)

    and over the years I've seen a new apartheid being slowly, but meticulously built. The propaganda is rife everyday...

    Our country has mass unemployment, and those masses are uneducated. The government of this-not-so-young democracy has not drastically changed this landscape, why not? The uneducated are the uninformed, the uninformed are easy to manipulate with never ending promises. So the uneducated are kept uneducated. Money is spent on far more pressing expenses - BILLIONS are annually spent on celebrations, extravagant cars, houses for the MP's etc. Yet people go on uneducated, hungry, homeless, with no proper sanitation or running water. Where does the money come from? Well, the majority of the taxes paid are contributed by the minority whites/indians/etc who are often told to get out of the country. The problem is they're leaving by the millions.

    As the gentlemen above said, it's intent on destroying itself, and he's quite right. In time (5, 10 years, give or take), it will implode, hopefully never as bad as Zimbabwe. The government is stealing from their very own people and now they can dust it under the carpet easier than before. And what they can't dust, I'm sure they'll "Jik" the evidence away.

    The only reason anyone can be pro the South African government, is if 1. you aren't living here, or 2. you are the South African government.

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:53PM (#38140104)

    I personally don't think it will get as bad as Zimbabwe. But I'm always open to surprises :P

    One thing about Africa is your perception can change in a minute. I recall a few of the riots, where people I'd talk to everyday, suddenly turned on their neighbor and burned homes down... so take the following with a grain of salt.

    I think the problem in South Africa is less about 'hate' for white people, and more about general corruption and poverty. This is what I think saves South Africa from Zimbabwe. There is even a small effort to help the poor whites... and there are a lot of them. Despite the flight, there is still a fair number of institutional builders. The old European style institutions are still there. China is heavily involved.

    If anything, I think South Africa will just descend into crime, poverty, corruption... not unlike many of the Latin American countries have done in the past. I don't see a Zimbabwe style melt down.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @05:44PM (#38141402)

    You obviously don't have a clue what's happening in South Africa.

    Over 3,000 white farmers (mostly elderly men and women) brutally murdered by blacks - normally tortured to death in the most horrific ways imaginable.

    A black majority government, which is, of course, totally corrupt.

    And all because of people like you, who can't be bothered to investigate things for yourself, and instead choose to believe whatever the media tells you.

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