BY BAKANG MOKOTO
The Right2Know condemns in the strongest possible terms the unprecedented security clampdown in and around Parliament as part of the State of the Nation Address.
The organization spokesperson, Murray Hunter said that the Presidency announced that Jacob Zuma had called in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help “maintain law and order” at the opening of Parliament.
“Four hundred and forty one SANDF members will be deployed. The public deserves answers to some basic questions. What legitimate security threats exist that justify deploying the military? What functions will they perform? How many police are being deployed, from which areas, and what are the safety implications for communities that have fewer police on the streets as a result?
“The deployment of the army is part of a longer trend of securitisation and militarisation. Each year, we have seen the securocrats ramping up ‘security measures’ around Parliament to new levels – and each time the public is told that this is ‘normal’. Hundreds of police, called from across the country to the streets around Parliament. Barbed wire and water cannons to meet protesters.
He further said riot police were brought in to drag out troublemaking MPs. Hunter said there will be signal jamming from the State Security Agency and interference with the television and audio feed.
“The restrictions on the movement of journalists and calling in the army is part of that trend. We are told that this is normal. But there is nothing normal about this. These are features of a clampdown, with the aim of shielding Zuma from political embarrassment and shutting out voices of dissent.
“It is not just in Parliament. It is on our streets, and in our communities. It is on our campuses too. These shows of force are the efforts of paranoid and fearful leaders, whose insecurity threatens everyone’s freedoms. And if we do not challenge the creep of securocratic tendencies into our democratic spaces, it continue until there is no democracy left,” he said.
Hunter said whatever Zuma says in his address on Thursday night, this is the real state of our nation.-TDN