South Africa has a number of key points such as state-owned enterprises (SOEs), national key points (munitions manufacturers, airports, harbours, communication centres), power stations, courts and prisons, for example. There are over 200 of them and this number varies as the sites become classified and declassified, which is designated by the Minister of Safety and Security in terms of the National Key Points Act 1980.
When securing a national key point, one must consider the following aspects:
1. All companies and its directors need to undergo a security check for approval prior to working onsite.
2. All persons working onsite will need to be informed and sign a confidentiality agreement, as many of the sites are governed by the national secrecy act.
3. Normal site-specific requirements around health and safety and conduct onsite will need to be adhered to, in many cases these requirements exceed the normal health and safety requirements.
4. Quality control and adherence procedures will also need to be complied with.
5. Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) compliance.
6. Cybersecurity and data security: supply of products that conform to international and local standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) and National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA).
The Minister may at any time classify a site as a national key point which falls under the following criteria: any place or area is so important that its loss, damage, disruption or immobilisation may prejudice the Republic (or whenever he considers it necessary, or expedient for the safety of the Republic, or in the public interest).
Below is a short summary of the National Key Points Act.
1. Duties of owner
a) The Minister will advise the owner of the appointment of his property as a national key point and once that happens the owner is obliged to take certain steps with regard to its security – at his own expense. If the owner refuses or fails to do so, he commits a crime.
b) The same applies where there is more than one owner of property in a so-called Key Points Complex. If an owner receives that notification, he is obliged to take the steps set out and is guilty of an offence should he fail to do so, regardless of whether he has been prevented, frustrated, or delayed by the others – and even if they render it impossible.
2. Furnishing information to the Minister
a) In order to make a decision, the Minister can call for information relating to or in connection with any place or area. If any person, in response to such an order, furnishes information which is false or incorrect, he commits an offence.
b) It is a crime to disclose that information to anyone else.
3. General offences
a) If you hinder, obstruct or thwart any person doing anything required to be done in terms of the Act, you commit a crime.
b) If you hinder, obstruct, or thwart any owner of property who is taking the required steps as to its security (because it has been designated a national key point) you commit an offence.
c) In fact, if you furnish, in any manner, any information about the security measures applicable at a national key point, without authorisation by the Minister, you commit an offence.
4. Official Secrets Act
There is a general provision which says that if you do anything at or in connection with a national key point which would have constituted an offence in terms of the Official Secrets Act 1956 if done in respect of a ‘prohibited place’ in terms of that Act, it will also be an offence in terms of this Act. The Official Secrets Act was repealed ages ago, but the principle (and prohibition) still applies. A prohibited place is:
1) Any work of defence belonging to, used by or occupied by or on behalf of the government.
2) Any place where munitions of war (anything that could be used in war or the defence of the country) are being kept, built, repaired or made.
3) Any place where sketches, plans, models or documents relating to munitions of war are being kept, made, built, repaired or obtained.
4) Any place declared by the State President to be a prohibited place.
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