South Africa: Politicians Change Tack As Information Moves At Warp Speed


It's almost impossible to control or stifle the deluge of information, but it can be manipulated and mastered by astute politicians.

It is useful to consider the dynamics of SA's nuclear politics through the prism of the power of individuals, to weigh up who is gaining and who is losing. But sometimes the way the game itself changes is rather important. Over the last decade, one of the major dynamics that has changed is how people in power manage information.

Nearly 10 years ago, in May 2010, the ANC government led by a newly-in-charge President Jacob Zuma started to move forward with the Protection of State Information Bill. Its purpose was obvious: to stop information held by the state from entering the public domain. Journalists, civil society organisations and other groups strenuously opposed it. The first draft was so draconian that it would have brought about the end of free expression in South Africa. After much outrage, the second draft was milder and yet still completely incompatible with the freedoms guaranteed by the SA constitution.

People such as SACP general secretary and now Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande strongly supported it.

In the end, every party in Parliament except for...

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