Cloud of secrecy descending on SA – study

A study by the advocacy group Right2Know has identified an increase in the use of apartheid-era security laws to keep information out of the public domain. There are also more refusals by public and private organisations to provide requested information and a growing trend towards withholding the details of party-political funding, says a Business Day report.

Among the trends noted in the 2013 Secret State of the Nation Report is a 54% rise in the use of the National Key Points Act to keep data secret and a more than 60% refusal rate for Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requests. Critically, notes Business Day, this comes ahead of the possible enactment of the Protection of State Information Bill which, if approved in its current form, is likely to see an increase in data being classified as secret. Referring to the National Key Points Act, the report says the number of buildings being declared key points is rising. Using SAPS data, it says that in the last five years the number of key points has risen by 54%, although there is no published list.

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