Friday, January 23, 2015

SABC's Aucklandpark headquarters, all SABC regional offices and Sentech all part of South Africa's list of national 'key points'.

The entire South African public broadcaster - the SABC's Aucklandpark headquarters in Johannesburg as well as all the SABC's regional offices countrywide - and the parastatal signal distributor Sentech are included on the list of national "key points".

Included in the 200 places of national strategic importance, according to the South African government, is the SABC's office in Cape Town and Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Bisho, Tshwane, the SABC's offices in the North West and in Durban, Nelspruit, and the SABC's outside broadcasting division in Cape Town.

Also included on the list as national key points are Sentech's Brixton Tower in Johannesburg as well as Sentech's satellite and transmission centre.

These places, according to the government - and never before officially named or revealed - require "additional security" and it's according to the government illegal to be identified or to be photographed.

Both the SABC - its headquarters in Aucklandpark, as well as its regional offices countrywide has often been photographed from the outside, and gets photographed and has been photographed, numerous times from the inside.

The police ministry at the end of 2014 brought an appeal to a court order to keep this list and information from South Africans, but then withdrew the appeal.

In 2014 the South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the SA History Archive (Saha) and ordered the police to tell South Africans and to disclose the list of these so-called "secret" and out of bounds and protected areas within South Africa.

The South African government argued unsuccessfully that making the information known and disclosing the list, will put South Africa's security at risk.

The Right2Know Campaign successfully argued that the secrecy is being used to undermine ordinary South Africans' civic rights and their rights to know and to protest and picket at places - like for instance at the SABC.

In 2014 the SABC's Aucklandpark headquarters saw the most protest action in the history of the South African public broadcaster, with numerous picketing action, marches and public protest in front of the SABC's doors, ranging from political parties to civil rights organisations and public broadcasting groups.