COSATU will present its submission on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill (National Key Points Act) to the Portfolio Committee on Police at 11:45am 31 January, Room V475, Old Assembly, Parliament. The National Key Points Act was adopted at the height of the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime and thus is not in line with our democratic constitutional values. It has long been abused to prevent workers from unionising and organising, exposing illegal activities and exercising their constitutional rights to protest. This has affected thousands of COSATU members working at National key points across the country, state and economy.
COSATU engaged extensively on the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Bill with government at Nedlac and achieved the following critical victories for workers:
• Workers’ hard won constitutional rights to unionise, organise, picket, protest, disclose corruption and illegal activities will be protected;
• The CIP Bill will not interfere with workers’ rights as provided by key progressive laws e.g. the LRA, BCEA, PDA, PAIA, PAJA and the Constitution;
• Critical infrastructure (CI) designations will no longer be the sole and unaccountable prerogative of the Police Minister but include public comments, clear criteria and the recommendations of the CI Panel.
• The CI Panel will be chaired by the civilian Secretary for Police and include non-governmental experts.
• CI designations will focus on terrorist, criminal, natural and hazardous threats.
• Searches of persons entering CI must be done with regards to decency and order and by persons of the same gender.
• Prosecutions must be based upon transgressions with a clearly criminal and unlawful intent.
• The provision for Parliament to play an active oversight role.
Whilst COSATU is pleased that its above demands were met by government, it will make further proposals to ;further strengthen public participation in the designation of critical infrastructure by the CI Panel and Minister by specifically requiring public comments be taken into account when making such designations; and explicitly prohibit the strip searching of workers during searches.
Issued by COSATU
Matthew Parks (Cosatu Parliamentary Coordinator)
Cell: 082 785 0687