DA demands answers for SA’s UN vote – Phumzile Van Damme

Party says vote is unsurprising given ANC's liking of censorship

DA demands answers for SA’s UN vote against Internet freedom

5 July 2016

South Africa’s vote against a United Nation (UN) resolution promoting Internet freedom is disturbing but unsurprising, given the ANC-government’s penchant for censorship.

Last week, the South African government’s representatives at the UN voted against a resolution that sought to promote and protect human rights on online platforms. Part of the resolution sought to condemn the intentional disruption of Internet access to the public. In voting against this resolution, South Africa has joined the ranks of China, Russia and North Korea, countries that have poor human rights track records and are the biggest practitioners of censorship.

The DA will not allow this injustice to go unanswered. 

My colleague, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, will be writing to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, requesting that she make public the reasons for this vote considering that is at odds with our Bill of Rights.

The vote against this resolution speaks volumes about the ANC-government’s 'zero cares' attitude about the public outcry against its ongoing programme of censorship. So little does it care that it has unashamedly paraded its love for censorship on the international stage. 

This latest vote against the resolution is very much in line with the Films and Publications Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament late last year. The Bill, currently out for public comment, will give the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, powers to impose fines and refer any “offenders” to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution for the content of their posts on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media sites deemed to have fallen foul of the provisions in the Bill. 

The DA intends on vigorously opposing this bill, and any other forms of censorhship the ANC government intends on introducing. 

It is imperative that we guard against any unnecessary censorship and infringement of our hard-won rights to free speech and the right to receive and impart information. 

For our democracy to thrive, it is important that all the rights bestowed on us by the Constitution are protected.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 5 July 2016