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South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-it-not-be-said-that dept.

Government 118

New submitter Hermanas writes with the story that South Africa's parliament has passed a Protection of Information Bill which could land whistle blowers and journalists who print classified information in jail for up to 25 years. From the Telegraph: "On the morning of the vote, a joint editorial in the country's largest newspapers heralded [a South African] 'day of reckoning for democracy.' 'The spreading culture of self-enrichment, either corrupt, or merely inappropriate, makes scrutiny fuelled by whistle blowers who have the public interest at heart more essential than ever since 1994,' the front page editorial said. As MPs voted on the bill in Cape Town's parliament, protesters dressed all in black gathered at the gates of the historic building where they were addressed by editors and freedom of information activists."

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Wow... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138048)

I would have expected this here in the U.S. or China, not South Africa. We're having a bad influence on the rest of the world, I think...

Re:Wow... (2)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138730)

Look for it soon in your country too.

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138744)

Expect an even worse version to be submitted in the US in the near future. It will almost certainly be presented as a way to 1) save the children, or 2) protect us from terrorists.

Re:Wow... (4, Funny)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138990)

3) Save us from cyber-terroist children!

Re:Wow... (2)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139028)

4. Kill Pedo-bear.

Re:Wow... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140026)

Circular. This invokes 1) Save the Children and yet conflicts with 3) as clearly the only way to accomplish it is to deploy the cyber-terrorist children.

Re:Wow... (2)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140860)

5... Profit!

Re:Wow... (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38142356)

The sad thing is profit actually seems to be a valid reason for passing ridiculous bills these days...

Re:Wow... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139016)

Expect an even worse version to be submitted in the US in the near future. It will almost certainly be presented as a way to 1) save the children, or 2) protect us from terrorists.

And, if the way they do the copyright stuff is any indication ... they'll say it's to bring America in line with what the rest of the world is doing.

Re:Wow... (5, Funny)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139050)

Expect an even worse version to be submitted in the US in the near future.

You sir are a pessimist.

This is *America*. We can do censorship BETTER than anyone else...and we will!

Re:Wow... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144284)

And 3) keep the Bradley Mannings in line. (Never 4) repeal the agencies of the government doing evil work.)

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138758)

The 1% are in power and want to stay that way. The truth is not their friend.

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138762)

In reality, this already exists in the US. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13526 [wikisource.org] mandates that information cannot be classified merely for the sake stopping embarrassment. Also provides provisions for declassification of information and that publishing leaked information does not declassify it and is therefor punishable by law.

Re:Wow... (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139964)

I think it is incorrect to say publishing leaked information is punished in the US. For example, nobody is prosecuting NY Times for reprinting excerpts of wikileaks. Whether this is due to a law or a judicial precedent, I don't know.

Re:Wow... (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140808)

The NYT didn't leak the stories, Bradley Manning did. Hence, Bradley Manning is in jail and not the NYT.

This isn't difficult to understand.

Re:Wow... (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38141138)

Its not. However from the sounds of the South Africa law, the NYT would ALSO be in trouble there. Actually the US is very liberal when it comes to the publication of classified data compared to most countries, even in the western world. (as a friend of mine used to joke, around the time the UK was updating its Official Secrets Act, the US was updating FOIA)

Re:Wow... (1)

elp (45629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145460)

That's exactly what the SA law would do. The paper is REQUIRED to turn over all documents to the nearest police station and give the name of the whistle blower or editor would face jail time. Not sure of the exact penalties, I think its 5 years for not turning over the docs and 25 years for publishing the information.

its happening RIGHT NOW in boston (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143002)

there is a grand jury convening in boston area RIGH TNOW. they are right now convening to hear Conspiracy charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 ( 18 USC 793(g) ) . there are three people who are there ONLY because they published information like the state department dumps, the afghan war incident reports, etc.

glenn greenwald has written about it.

Re:Wow... (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140466)

Sadly, who enforces that if its unjustly classified? The judges that were appointed by the branch of government who made it classified?

One would hope there would be truly independent judges who would fly in the face of such activity, but I'm quite sure in 25 years we'll find out that LOTS of information was classified as 'national security' because if it got out it would make Bush, and now Obama, simply look bad and that would hurt our prestige in the world. Hence that's a security threat. And the judges signed off on it.

Hell we have literal 'secret laws' now where they won't even say what they 'think it means' citing national security concerns.

Or take the Islamic group that was accidentally mailed a copy of the case against them using the Patriot Act (I think), that the gov't argued was classified so they couldn't use as evidence. It was known data because it had been seen outside of classified circles, yet they couldn't use it to challenge the very law they were using to investigate them.

We're on the road to hell...just a question of whether we can find the stones to turn ourselves around.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138788)

Yeah, South Africa is a utopia.

Re:Wow... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138796)

I wish i had mod points (like "insightful").

"We" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138880)

I am confused by your use of the term "we". Are you saying that you are oppressing yourself? In other words, you are employing physical force against yourself? How is that possible?

Re:"We" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140298)

Stop hitting yourself ... Stop hitting yourself ... Stop hitting yourself ... etc.

Re:Wow... (4, Insightful)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138964)

You didn't expect something like this in a country that had apartheid until 1990 and imprisoned people who spoke out in favor or equal rights? Really?

Re:Wow... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139220)

The naive-optimist theory of human nature is that a good, hard, dose of oppression and brutality makes people see the evil of it.

In a few, noble, cases(e.g. Mr. Mandela), it does. In less uplifting characters(e.g. his former wife, it renders them brutal: see "necklacing; support of"). In the case of cynical opportunists(like much of the present ANC leadership) it merely awakens them to an understanding of how terribly convenient power can be...

(While the almost complete failure of this naive-optimist theory has applied time and again to post-colonial African governance, it is by no means exclusive to the continent. My very own New England was founded by religious refugees from Old England who sought a new land where, safe from their persecutors, they could safely persecute the shit out of people they didn't like... It is very lucky indeed that the foundation of the present day US occurred well after the initial round of assholes had died down a touch.)

Re:Wow... (0)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139774)

Mandela.. Noble.. your joking right.. Maybe later in life he ended up that way, but it does not excuse what he and his cohorts did prior to his imprisonment. If you look at his past in today's context, he would be labeled a terrorist, and rightly so.

I will concede that he did many great things later in life, but his history remains, and it is not a pretty one.

Re:Wow... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139872)

Mandela.. Noble.. your joking right.. Maybe later in life he ended up that way, but it does not excuse what he and his cohorts did prior to his imprisonment. If you look at his past in today's context, he would be labeled a terrorist, and rightly so.

I will concede that he did many great things later in life, but his history remains, and it is not a pretty one.

You're a Nazi troll. Now fuck off.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140322)

How is stating the truth trolling?
Mandela ordered the execution of civilians. He was a terrorist. He still to this day refuses to apologize for his actions.
The ANC targeted soft targets, families having morning breakfast, night clubs. NOT once did they have the balls to attack government facilities.

Please do some history and come talk to me when your family and friends have been blown up by car bombs.

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140000)

If you look at his past in today's context, he would be labeled a terrorist, and rightly so.

He was labelled a terrorist back then. In fact, up until 2008, Mandela needed special waivers to travel to the US from the Secretary of State as a result of it.

That said, for his part, he always did try to prevent people from getting hurt. He was going after buildings symbolic to the Apartheid government. The rest of his group didn't always adhere to that, and they got pretty violent, but it's hard to control people who have been oppressed for so long.

People say that it's difficult to differentiate a terrorist from a freedom fighter. Here's my attempt: if you actually lay down arms and move towards reconciliation once you've ended the oppression, instead of trying to become the oppressor, then you're a freedom fighter. That's what Mandela did, and I have to call that noble, from the start. Because fighting for your freedom is a noble thing to do.

Re:Wow... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38141568)

So.
The ends justify the means?

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141754)

Mandela has been conclusively proven to be a puppet of the SA aparthiedt regime. He never did serve any legitimate jail time. He was, initially, an outlier-possibly-we-can-capitalize-on-this project, and damn there have been handsome dividends -- there are still white people left alive in SA!

Disclaimer: I'm white, and a recent immigrant to South Africa. Also posting anon for a change, for real fear of physical bodily harm in reprisal.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143430)

Disclaimer: I'm white, and a recent immigrant to South Africa.

Why the hell would any white person immigrate to South Africa? Are you masochistic? Suicidal?

Or did you come from Zimbabwe?

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139474)

uhm the regime changed, the irony is the ones backing the bill are those who are still flying the ANC flag and have their whole identity invested in the so called "struggle". Hopefully 50 years from now young black "revolutionaries" will not still be blaming everything on apartheid. It's been over 25 years, surely all the shortcomings of the last 10 years at least can no longer be attributed to the previous regime? we have come a long way, but as long as the government squanders billions on corrupt deals and we have millions of uneducated, ignorant, disgruntled young men being drummed up by hate mongering "revolutionaries"(who live lavish lives of excess), history is going to repeat itself.

Re:Wow... (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144242)

You're fooling yourself. There are plenty of blacks who blame their current plight in the US on slavery that ended 150 years ago.

Re:Wow... (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139990)

Except that the people that were oppressed in apartheid are now running the country and making the laws. I guess the Golden Rule is still valid.

Re:Wow... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144258)

Except that the people that were oppressed in apartheid are now running the country and making the laws. I guess the Golden Rule is still valid.

Which one? "Whoever is in charge will rain a golden shower upon everyone else"?

Re:Wow... (3, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139718)

I would have expected ... I think...

Here is a whistleblower story [google.com] you won't find on Slashdot because it isn't compatible with your preferred narrative. If you continue to discover large differences between reality and your training as a malcontent you should reconsider the propaganda you indulge.

Re:Wow... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143332)

Funny. I did find it on slashdot. Mind telling me what sacred cows it apparently slaughters? Looks like a whistleblower who embarrassed a previous government is now getting off the hook due to the opposition being in power.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139770)

I would have expected this here in the U.S. or China, not South Africa.

Why would you not expect this in South Africa? Are black-majority governments inherently more honest than those dominated by other races?

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139894)

Yes, because africa has always been known as a bastion of human rights, peace and civilization. Africans cutting each others heads off, raping and pillaging: America's fault. Widespread corruption throughout the whole continent: America's fault. Hutu - Tutu tribal warfare: America's fault. South Africa murder capital of the world: America's fault.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141330)

No, because the "west" has always been known as a bastion of human rights, peace and civilization. Westerners cutting each others heads off, raping and pillaging: Africa's fault. widespread corruption throughout the whole continent: Africa's fault. Jew - White tribal warfare: Africa's fault. Washington DC murder capital of the world: Africa's fault.

Pot meet kettle.

Perhaps (given history) the human race ought to collectively acknowledge that we are all full of sh*t, and given the opportunity most of us will f*ck over someone (less fortunate?) over.

Re:Wow... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38141636)

I am not sure exactly what problems that we in fact do have in the US are blamed on Africa.
Would you like to point them out?
I have not seen DC murder rates blamed on Nigerian corporate interests.
I have not seen California mothers brutal head chopping rampage blamed on Somalian piracy.
Where exactly have you seen it?

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141910)

Well I was actually not aware that all "african" problems are taken to be america's fault, hence my point.

You may assume a broader definition of the term "the west". Your understanding should not necessarily be restricted to California.

Besides, the rebuttal above relates primarily to the idea that Africa is a homogenous society, and All Things Bad Happen In Africa (tm).

America (or should I say The Americas) has it's share of problems and i find it strange that any africa related article will have these types of comments.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it's paradise everywhere out here, but dammit, this sh*t happens everywhere.

Re:Wow... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140618)

well.. getting a sentence is at least something more than being locked up indefinitely.

mandela wouldn't have had right to vote in usa anyways.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141052)

People is so mislead about the situation in South Africa! we all are made to live in some kind of "Happy Mandela Day commercial" by the international media, but truth is that the same party has been in power from 20 years, they appoint public health ministers declaring that AIDS can be cured with garlic and lemon, and the president is not different from most of his African colleagues in terms of corruption and lack of ethics any kind: Zuma was accused of raping a woman and aquitted, it turns out that the woman was HIV positive, but Zuma said he had take a shower afterwards to cut the risk of contracting it. It's a fucking miracle that this country has not collapsed yet.

Re:Wow... (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38141154)

Well in the US freedom of the press is protected as part of free speech.
Also, such a law would be unnecessary in the US because people who say the wrong thing are rapists and can be put in jail forever for that.

Re:Wow... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141402)

You obviously don't have a clue what's happening in South Africa.

Over 3,000 white farmers (mostly elderly men and women) brutally murdered by blacks - normally tortured to death in the most horrific ways imaginable.

A black majority government, which is, of course, totally corrupt.

And all because of people like you, who can't be bothered to investigate things for yourself, and instead choose to believe whatever the media tells you.

pool (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138702)

Within 10 years the united states will do the same.

bet.

Capitalism sux!!! (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138780)

For a black-centered workers government! Break with the tripartitie alliance! Smash imperialism through internationbal socioekj,msd levor,le;wknbiu!!!&RGHNJ ASS AAs ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASSSS ASSS ASS ASSSSSSSS!!!!Q!

Nukes (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138856)

Now I understand COMPLETELY, the decision by the then-white-minority government in South Africa, to relinquish their nuclear weapons and put their nuclear programme under international safeguards.

And this does not make Jacob ('Bring Me My Machine Gun') Zuma and his cronies look too good.

Re:Nukes (4, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139106)

> And this does not make Jacob ('Bring Me My Machine Gun') Zuma and his cronies look too good.

True, but when you have the machine gun (or/and all the money) you don't care what anyone thinks of you.

Re:Nukes (5, Interesting)

beuges (613130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139268)

Zuma was already not looking good a week ago, when his official spokesman, Mac Maharaj, laid charges against the Mail & Guardian, compelling them to redact about 70% of an article they were going to publish outlining how Maharaj lied during an in-camera hearing into corruption surrounding the infamous arms deal. Rather than defend himself, Maharaj's viewpoint is simply that the publication of in-camera evidence is against the law, so the M&G is breaking the law. Hasn't provided any sort of defence against the allegations of corruption against him.

And this is exactly what the protesting against the POIB is about. The ANC has viciously resisted even the thought of adding a 'public interest' clause to the bill, meaning that evidence of corruption and lies, like in Zuma's spokesman's case, can be classified, and then rather than the corrupt person being held accountable, the journalists go to jail, for exposing corruption that the government is helping to hide.

Zuma and his cronies haven't looked good for a while. If they were serious about their claims to want to fight corruption, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on passing a law that hides the evidence of that corruption. The minister of Intelligence was implicated in fraud involving travel allowances a few years back. None of the ANC MP's have been charged or even fined. He's the one that drafted the initial bill.

My personal opinion, as a non-white who grew up in the last two decades of apartheid, is that the ANC government is worse for the people of this country than the apartheid one. At least with the Nats, you knew that if you were black, you were gonna be held back - it was government policy and they were open about it. With the ANC, they're keeping their own people back for their own selfish gains, blaming the 'legacy of apartheid' for their peoples misfortunes, when their people remain poor and uneducated purely due to the corrupt, selfish ANC government in power.

It's a tragedy.

I guess the blame game is universal (3, Informative)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139606)

Over here Obama is still blaming the disastrous results of his administration on Bush.

Mod Troll Down! (-1, Troll)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140284)

Mod Troll Down!

Re:Mod Troll Down! (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140488)

What was that CmdrTaco quote? Oh yeah, "Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down."

Re:Mod Troll Down! (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38142942)

I agree. However, you were off topic and trolling.

Re:Nukes (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139858)

Zuma and his cronies haven't looked good for a while. >It's a tragedy.

Onlu a while? I can not recall them ever looking good.

Re:Nukes (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143496)

My personal opinion, as a non-white who grew up in the last two decades of apartheid, is that the ANC government is worse for the people of this country than the apartheid one. At least with the Nats, you knew that if you were black, you were gonna be held back - it was government policy and they were open about it. With the ANC, they're keeping their own people back for their own selfish gains, blaming the 'legacy of apartheid' for their peoples misfortunes, when their people remain poor and uneducated purely due to the corrupt, selfish ANC government in power.

Maybe you can answer a question that I've had for some time now.

I've seen claims from various people online that an average black person in today's South Africa is financially and quality-of-life-wise worse off than he was in the last decade or so of apartheid. Supposedly that is because the economy went down the drainer during ANC rule so much that, even with more even partitioning of wealth between blacks and whites, the absolute number is still lower. I've tried to track this down, and, far as I can see, it has been regularly circulated on Stormfront and the likes (no surprise there), but that doesn't necessarily mean that the original claim is incorrect. And I could never find any trustworthy numbers that are aggregated by racial background (rather than country-wide averages) to verify the claim.

As a citizen of South Africa who can compare directly, does this claim sound completely bogus to you based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, or is there some truth to it?

Re:Nukes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143706)

I'm South African and can tell you very reliably that it's nonsense. Economically things have improved dramatically in terms of GDP and the race gap for earnings. Even wikipedia has the data to answer your questions :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_South_Africa

We've had one of the longest periods of economic growth in the country's history since the '94 elections. The country as a whole is doing remarkably well. We are doing remarkably well in spite of some of the strange things our government does. Compared to Europe and the US we're in remarkable shape economically at the moment.

Our politicians do some remarkably stupid things sometimes, but arguably not all that different from what you see in Italy or the US. That said, we're not at all happy about the new legislation and will fight it tooth and nail, all the way to the constitutional court if necessary. For the record expats are a remarkably unreliable source of info on the country, you hear the craziest stories from them.

Re:Nukes (2)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144244)

Remarkable.

Re:Nukes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146014)

Remarkably well? A very intelligent South African expat ( who's work involves following the national demographics) told me once, Well the problem with SA is that it looks great - on paper.

Where you will see some of the problems Beuges has mentioned is in the government departments, where a culture of information embargo and denial is taking root and steadily growing, to hide the true facts from public view. And the twin problem of misinformation - blaming anyone else from private medicare to apartheid legacy to take the focus off their maladministration. Very recently, two people I know of were outright denied medical treatment - public hospitals come up with really poor excuses now. Sadly, for one patient the long delay due to the appeal process contributed to his weakening and unneccesary death.

Post apartheid, certain crimes escalated to unheard of levels because the police service degraded with the new management. Criminals took advantage of that. But you won't see it reflected in statistics. From my own experience it's not even worth reporting crime anymore because the cops are demotivated loathe to deal with the mounting workload they face now. Perhaps the local insurance companies have a better idea since risk profiles and claim payouts are their business and would be reflected in their data.

Over the last 12 years at the very least, I've gradually seen more and more people scrounging through dustbins every week, it's quite an army here now. Or so many kids with no work.

This law just helps government to hide things instead of solving problems. Think of how Malema's buddy cosied up to that municipality and horse-traded land (meant for development) and sold it back for a stonking good profit. That kind of information regarding public interest would most likely be censored in future. I'm glad it was reported in the media.

Re:Nukes (2)

beuges (613130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145522)

I'm not black, so I can't speak from personal experience there. I don't believe that the average black person today is financially worse-off than he was under apartheid. But as for quality of life, I do think he's not really any better off than he was overall. There are obviously a whole lot of factors at play. Since the 90's, a lot more blacks have been able to work at jobs they wouldn't have been able to in the past, so financially, there is a growing number of blacks who are benefitting. The 'reverse-apartheid' policy of affirmative action, which forces companies over a certain size to follow racial quotas when filling positions, has helped a lot of blacks get employed from the informal sector to the formal sector. However, lots of these guys never had the education or training for these positions, and generally either get stuck at the lower levels due to their qualification levels, or get unfairly promoted purely to raise the company's quota of black management. I've worked with clients who've had black guys promoted to senior management just for the sake of quotas, and their lack of overall understanding of the systems and departments they're managing is quite apparent.

At the same time, the quality of education has been steadily dropping from the 90s, and it's really quite terrible now. The ANC government has tried a number of things with the education system, and one has to wonder if the result is just due to their complete lack of competence, or if it's done on purpose to ensure that the masses of the country remain uneducated. We had a very decent schooling system for quite a while. Once apartheid fell, and public schooling was equal for everyone, people began realising that a lot of the black kids moving into schools that they previously weren't allowed to were failing miserably, mainly due to the lower standard of education they had received until then. So government lowers the standard of education across the board. Rather than maintaining the standards already set for maths, sciences, etc, the entire schooling system was shifted to a policy of 'outcomes based education', where more 'practical' skills were focused on. If the majority of the population isn't ever going to use trignometry in their lives, why teach that to them at a high school level, when you could rather be teaching them how to count change from a till instead? If the majority isn't going to be creating technical drawing designs, why show them how to use a T-square when they can focus on how to manually weld metal instead? A lot of people, myself included, believe that the reduction in the standards of education has happened on purpose, so that the large numbers of poor, uneducated people (who are pretty much all ANC supporters because they still associate the ANC with Mandela and liberation) will remain poor and uneducated, and continue believing that the ANC is their liberator and saviour.

Every ANC government, both provincial and national, as well as most municipalities, have been plagued with lazy, greedy, corrupt people. The politically connected get awarded over-inflated tenders, and get richer. The officials who grant the tenders get kickbacks, and get richer. The poor, who are supposed to benefit from these projects, end up with half-complete, poorly designed, badly implemented projects. The ANC government blames the legacy of apartheid for the poor delivery, and covers up for their ineptitude, and this is why they are pushing so hard for this secrecy bill to be passed.

I don't know of anywhere else in the world where a government official can be caught red-handed with corruption, and the majority party says 'we will deal with this internally as a party matter', instead of having that corrupt official go through the actual legal system. The ANC goes to great lengths to protect its members. A shockingly large percentage of politicians have criminal records, and not for apartheid-related activity either. Zuma's personal financial advisor was in jail for fraud, corruption and soliciting bribes. Zuma was implicated at the same time. Instead of completing the investigations into him, the special investigative unit that was created to handle these high-profile cases was disbanded.

Billions of rands that should go to servicing and uplifting and educating the poor instead goes into already-rich ANC officials pockets. Those same thiefs then go and look their own people in the eye and blame the white government of 20 years ago for their misfortunes. I suppose in a way they're right - if they weren't oppressed for so long, they probably wouldn't have the mentality that they need to become as rich as possible however they can now. But the sad reality is that the ANC fought for the liberation of their people, and now that they have it, they keep working to keep their own people back. The ANC works quite hard to maintain racial division in the country. Every time a black official doesn't deliver, he blames it on the legacy of apartheid. I'm pretty sure that in 50 years time, a number of blacks are still going to be blaming the legacy of apartheid for their lazy asses not doing the work they're supposed to be doing.

So yeah, while financially, blacks are a bit better off now than they were under apartheid, the reason for me saying that the ANC government is worse than the apartheid one, is because the ANC is keeping their own people down, rather than actually improving their lives. I know every government in every country has to deal with corruption and inept officials, but in South Africa, it seems that corruption is government policy with no shame attached. There are too many people who are literally untouchable purely due to their political connections. And the people who suffer are the ones that have always suffered - the poor blacks living in the townships.

Re:Nukes (1)

st0nes (1120305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145136)

I don't understand the connection between the Freedom of Information bill and nuclear weapons; either it's a non seqitur or too subtle for me. This bill may have passed through parliament, but it will encounter a rocky road when it comes up against the inevitable constitutional challenges (Moegoeng Moegoeng notwithstanding). South Africa also has a freedom of speech clause which this law attempts to trump. In any case, if the ANC government continue to behave with the arrogance and stupidity they have been displaying of late, they will be out of government at the next election, and a DA-led coalition will lose no time repealing this Act.

Now South Africa needs Wikileaks and Anonymous (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138890)

So please, hackers of the world, we need you to bust Zuma and the security apparatus in South Africa wide open, and publish on behalf of the people of this country, who have had their hopes dashed by a hopelessly corrupt government. Let the secrets which gave rise to this bill come to light!

Re:Now South Africa needs Wikileaks and Anonymous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139254)

Are they freakkken kidding...They want to turn SA into Zimbabwe,this ain't democracy...People lets unite and fight this shity government,ZUMA should go back to school by the way maybe his big head could be useful for once in his life...FUCK THE ANC,CORRUPT MF's,YALL R COWARDS

Coming soon to the US (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38138946)

We'll see a Republican bill, completely written by lobbyists, that makes reporting crime as committed by any business a crime itself.

Don't like it when substandard practices at PG&E cause houses to blow up and kill the inhabitants? Illegal to report it.

Don't like it when companies grease the FDA's palm to get dangerous medicine on the market even though you've seen data that proves it's dangerous and has no real benefit? Illegal to report it.

Don't like it when companies sue random people for downloading files based on weak evidence and you know for a fact the legal team is just suing blindly? Illegal to report it.

South Africa is paving the way for our future. Frankly I'm amazed we didn't pass a bill like that too.

Re:Coming soon to the US (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139072)

It is not just the Republicans you moron, both parties are in the bag with big business.

Look at your Democrat Hero, Obama has his head so far up G.E. arse that he made their CEO Jeff Imelt a top advisor in his administration.

How many taxes did GE pay? Practically nothing.

Both parties cannot be trusted anymore.

Your MAFIAA example (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139646)

Laws written by the MAFIAA are traditionally a Democrat thing, although members of both parties do suck up to them.

There's a reason why you see Howard Berman (D-Disney).

Same Shit, different day.... (4, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38138974)

There is nothing to see here, move along..

Welcome back to apartheid, only under black rule instead of white rule..

This country (I am an expat) is intent on destroying itself. They have been trying to change history by renaming, or removing all monuments, good or bad, to historical figures and events.

I'm glad I left.. as have most of my friends. SA while a beautiful country from a landscape aspect, is an absolute shithole from a people aspect, black, white, indian, makes not difference, the few good ones left should get the fuck out while the getting is good.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139112)

Dismal little asshole, aren't we?

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (2)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139194)

Or a realist. What vested interest of yours is threatened by failing to implement this new bill?

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139356)

I will take your comment seriously when you remove the shroud of anonymity and post as an actual person.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140336)

Why not just judge the context of his post? Why do you care if you can pin a pseudonym on him that's easily created and more easily discarded?

His comment contains nothing of substance whatsoever. It doesn't deserve your 'serious consideration' regardless. Would you give it more worth just because instead of 'Anonymous Coward' at the top it's 'lol_bieber_is_teh_coolest'?

Are you here to discuss ideas or to judge people?

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140796)

You say this about someone judging him.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139366)

Not really. SA had a chance to overcome it's past. It still had all the leaders from the struggle against apartheid and could've made the transition to a functioning modern democracy. Instead, SA is slowly winding it's way down to being just another African dictatorship.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140948)

Dismal? You have no idea dude. He's not sucking this stuff out his thumb. Just earlier today, the mayor of Pretoria (who is currently being investigated for fraud) said that "THEY WILL" change the name of the city to Tshwane and change all the major street names, to honor their "struggle" heroes. This is not the first city either, its actually one of the few that managed to last the longest due to a strong Afrikaner presence there.

The ANC is throwing a big party bash in January next year which will cost R500 million (almost $60 million). They have since made known that R400 million comes from the tax payers in the country where the rest comes from their own pockets. This is while millions of their supporters are dying from hunger and suffering in poverty, yet they keep voting them into power because the ANC gave them food once (yes they handed out free whole chickens and pap) before the voting day.

The public health care system is on the brink of total collapse, so they are going to start taxing everyone more (with a National Healthcare System) so that we all can actively contribute to their pockets some more.

On Friday one of my friend's got pulled over by the cops for a "routine check" and they stole his Asus Transformer while he was in the car!

I would have given you links to the news articles, but that might get me into trouble now and /. doesn't allow me to make links.

The story from here in the country looks a whole lot different than what you think. Try living here! We fear for our well being every day, hoping that they target the noisy neighbours next door and not your house. They execute children like criminals and kill the elderly in the most brutal ways; rape the women and let the husbands or 13 year old sons watch...

I kid you not and I swear I am no troll. Believe me or not, you wanna see this for yourself, please come over...

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (4, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139436)

Another expat... absolutely agree.

For the record.. I am of Indian descent, and while never had it as bad as the blacks, we certainly detested apartheid.

SA is basically a country run by ideological corruption right now. While blacks make up 80% of the population and almost everyone agrees a certain amount of transition in terms of 'affirmative' action is a good thing given history it is being done in such an impractical way.

People are literally being handed positions of power with absolutely no qualifications. And of course this is coming down to massive corruption. It rarely goes to help the poor needy black family. The benefits tend to go to well connected black families who don't really need the help.

Then you have the massive entitlement mentality. The biggest problem here is that 80% of the population is black. And unfortunately, a large percentage expect all the services for free. A simple example is electricity. They don't want to pay for electricity. They expect it to be subsidized by the other 20% of society. You can't run an electrical system that way. It's not like all the Indians or whites are rolling in money to subsidize it that way.

So it's no surprise the government tries to crack down on whistle blowing. The whole country and government is based on corruption.

It's a country doomed to run into the ground left to its own merits. There is hope though. China is heavily involved and at least keeps goods flowing... and they're relatively untainted by a colonial past in Africa.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139714)

Will it get as bad as Zimbabwe? It seems to be the same kind of corruption and kleptocracy, albeit not as centralized on one man.

I often wonder if Zimbabweans ever get nostalgic for Ian Smith or wonder what would have happened if Ian Smith had hung on in Rhodesia -- would it have just reinforced the South African government, allow apartheid to continue longer than it did, or would it have transitioned before South Africa, leading the way to a multiracial society?

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (4, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140104)

I personally don't think it will get as bad as Zimbabwe. But I'm always open to surprises :P

One thing about Africa is your perception can change in a minute. I recall a few of the riots, where people I'd talk to everyday, suddenly turned on their neighbor and burned homes down... so take the following with a grain of salt.

I think the problem in South Africa is less about 'hate' for white people, and more about general corruption and poverty. This is what I think saves South Africa from Zimbabwe. There is even a small effort to help the poor whites... and there are a lot of them. Despite the flight, there is still a fair number of institutional builders. The old European style institutions are still there. China is heavily involved.

If anything, I think South Africa will just descend into crime, poverty, corruption... not unlike many of the Latin American countries have done in the past. I don't see a Zimbabwe style melt down.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141482)

I actually think that we should set up a refugee program in order to give white Africans the option of immigrating back to Europe and North America. I think that, in certain cases, one could make the argument that white people are being prosecuted in Africa and, therefore, they deserve our protection. Most of them are well educated and would definitely be welcomed here and in Europe.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143480)

Sorry dude, if you do it for the whites, you have to make the option available to the blacks too... your statement is borderline racist however well intended, and that kind of thinking is the reason why the country is in the state it is in.

If South Africans are educated enough, there are means to leave through normal emigration processes, believe me no one will accept uneducated (i.e. 12 years of education or less - yes that's uneducated when it comes to immigration laws) immigrants in their country, black or white. For interest, many educated blacks are also emigrating, not just whites.

If war does break out and whites, or rather non blacks (because all non-bantu people are going to get it) do get severely targeted, what you speak of will become reality for any South African, regardless of education and race.

R3SME SHIT DIFARENT DAY..!1!1!!111!11111!!1111 OMG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140290)

ANOTHER AXPAT.!!!11!111!11!111!1 LOL ABSOLUTALEY AGRE
FOR!!1!! WTF DA R3CORD.!1!!!!1!!11! WTF LOL IM OF INDIAN D3SCANT AND WHIEL NEVER HAD IT AS BAD AS DA BLAX WA CERTANELEY DATESTED APARTHEID
SA!1!!111 SI BASICALY A COUNTRY RUN BY IEDOLOGICAL CORUPTION RIGHT NOW!!!111 OMG WTF LOL WHIEL BLAX MAEK UP 80% OF DA POPULATION AND ALMOST EVARYON3 AGRES A CERTANE MOUNT OF TRANSITION IN TERMS OF AFIRMATIEV ACTION SI A GOD THNG GIEVN HIS2RY IT SI BNG DON3 IN SUCH AN IMPRACTICAL WAY
PAOPLA!1!1!11 WTF LOL R LIETRALY BNG HANDED POSITIONS OF POW3R WIT ABSOLUTALEY NO QUALIFICATIONS!!11! OMG AND OF COURS3 THES SI COMNG DOWN 2 MASIEV CORUPTION!!!!!11! OMG WTF LOL IT RAERLEY GO3S 2 H3LP TEH POR NEDY BLAK FMILEY!!11!! WTF LOL TEH BN3FITS TEND 2 GO 2 WEL CONECT3D BLAK FMILEIS WHO DONT RILLY NED DA H3LP
TH3N!!!!111 LOL U HAEV TEH MASIEV ENTITL3M3NT MANTALITY!!!!1 OMG WTF TEH BIGEST PROBL3M H3RA SI TAHT 80% OF TEH POPULATION SI BLAK!1!111! WTF AND UNFORTUNAETLEY A LARGE P3RC3NTAEG 3XPECT AL DA SERVIECS FOR FRE!!!!1! OMG WTF LOL A SIMPLA AXMPL3 SI 3L3CTRICITY!111! LOL THEY DONT WANT 2 PAY FOR 3LECTRICITY!!11!11 OMG LOL THEY EXP3CT IT 2 B SUBSIDIEZD BY DA OTHAR 20% OF SOCEITY!!!111!!1 OMG LOL U CANT RUN AN EL3CTRICAL SYST3M TAHT WAY!11!1!!1 WTF LOL ITS NOT LIEK AL TEH INDIANS OR WHIETS R ROLNG IN MONEY 2 SUBSIDIEZ IT TAHT WAY
SO!11!1!!!! OMG WTF ITS NO SURPRIES TEH GOV3RNMENT TREIS 2 CRAK DOWN ON WHISTLE BLOWNG!!11!1 DA WHOLE COUNTRY AND GOV3RNMANT SI BAESD ON CORUPTION
ITS!!111!11 WTF LOL A COUNTRY DOMED 2 RUN IN2 DA GROUND L3FT 2 ITS OWN MERITS!11!1!!!! THEYRE SI HOPE THOUGH!1111 OMG WTF CHINA SI HEAVILEY INVOLVED AND AT LEAST KEPS GODS FLOWNG.!!!111!1!!!1!1111!1 OMG LOL AND THEIR RELATIEVLEY UNTANET3D BY A COLONIAL PAST IN AFRICA!1111 WTF LOL

Re:R3SME SHIT DIFARENT DAY..!1!1!!111!11111!!1111 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38142560)

WTF OMG LOL!

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140730)

China is heavily involved and at least keeps goods flowing... and they're relatively untainted by a colonial past in Africa.

I'm not sure how "relatively untainted by a colonial past in Africa" is favorable to China.

China has it's own brand of ruthlessness and corruption and doesn't share western society's collective guilt about Africa, slavery or the plight of the noble black man.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146106)

Actually, China is gonna screw us all, just as they are slowly but surely doing to the US (with the help of Wall Street people and idiots in government).
And nobody seems too critical of China's lock down of information and human rights 'cos, well, they just bad.

How the free countries of the world can practise "free trade" with a repressed slave nation who will beat you on price everytime, I just don't get it.

Re:Same Shit, different day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141602)

SA while a beautiful country from a landscape aspect...

Yes I found the electrified fencing around people homes quite decorative during my visits there. The Shabby Chic Warzone motif would catch on if Ikea showcases it.

it will just drive the leaking of that info (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139258)

underground, there will be more anonymous leaks to places like LiveLeak or Youtube from internet cafes or any unsecured wifi hotspot, information wants to be free and it will find a way despite what governments try to do to prevent it.

Re:it will just drive the leaking of that info (2)

Rangido (924536) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139354)

Problem with that - electricity, never mind internet access, is nowhere near ubiquitous in South Africa. Basic cellphones, maybe, but not real web browsing.

SMA SHIT DIFERENT DAY..!11!!1!!!!11111!!!!!111 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139364)

THEIR SI NOTHNG 2 SE HERE MOV3 ALONG.
WELCOME!1!1!1!1111!1!! WTF BAK 2 APARTH3ID ONLEY UNDER BLAK RULE INSTEAD OF WHIET RUL3.
THIS!!1!!1!11!111 OMG WTF COUNTRY (IM AN 3XPAT) SI INTANT ON DASTROYNG ITSALF!!!11!!! WTF LOL THAY HAEV B3N TRYNG 2 CHANGE HIS2RY BY RENMNG OR R3MOVNG AL MONUM3NTS GOD OR BAD 2 HIS2RICAL FIGUR3S AND AV3NTS
IMM!1!1!11 WTF LOL GLAD I L3FT.!11!!1!!1!11!11 WTF AS HAEV MOST OF MAH FREINDS!!1!!! OMG LOL SA WHIEL A BAUTIFUL COUNTRY FROM A LANDSCAEP ASPACT SI AN ABSOLUTE SHITHOLE FROM A PEOPLE ASPECT BLAK WHIET INDIAN MAEKS NOT DIFAR3NCE TEH FAW GOD ON3S LEFT SHUD GAT TEH FUK OUT WHIEL DA G3TNG SI GOD
!11!1!

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139608)

and not a single fuck was given that day...

SA is one of the biggest nastiest shitholes on the planet.

You know it's getting bad when... (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140014)

Attaching a flamethrower to your car to combat carjackings is considered to be a reasonable idea.

Publication of classified info should be punisha- (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38139666)

ble - whoever would've thunk it?!

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139824)

ble - whoever would've thunk it?!

What the hell are you trying to say?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139850)

ble - whoever would've thunk it?!

What the hell are you trying to say?

He's saying that splitting a sentence between the subject line and body should be punishable by Death by Pointy Things.

Re:WTF? (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140274)

If something is LEGITIMATELY classified, that is, is an actual matter of national security, then it should be punishable to publish it. Is that meaning so difficult to glean?

Of course, if the release of the thing that is classified exposes some wrong doing, then that should certainly be considered to off-set the punishment, perhaps entirely.

I'm a South African... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38139792)

and over the years I've seen a new apartheid being slowly, but meticulously built. The propaganda is rife everyday...

Our country has mass unemployment, and those masses are uneducated. The government of this-not-so-young democracy has not drastically changed this landscape, why not? The uneducated are the uninformed, the uninformed are easy to manipulate with never ending promises. So the uneducated are kept uneducated. Money is spent on far more pressing expenses - BILLIONS are annually spent on celebrations, extravagant cars, houses for the MP's etc. Yet people go on uneducated, hungry, homeless, with no proper sanitation or running water. Where does the money come from? Well, the majority of the taxes paid are contributed by the minority whites/indians/etc who are often told to get out of the country. The problem is they're leaving by the millions.

As the gentlemen above said, it's intent on destroying itself, and he's quite right. In time (5, 10 years, give or take), it will implode, hopefully never as bad as Zimbabwe. The government is stealing from their very own people and now they can dust it under the carpet easier than before. And what they can't dust, I'm sure they'll "Jik" the evidence away.

The only reason anyone can be pro the South African government, is if 1. you aren't living here, or 2. you are the South African government.

Re:I'm a South African... (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38140720)

Wow. Very sad though unsurprising. It's rapidly becoming "go-time" with regards to no longer behaving like animals. The same goes for indiscriminate breeding since we have been in exponential growth for the last 600 years.

Myself, I would prefer people had the freedom (to destroy themselves) as opposed to being incarcerated into survival. (I guess for the incarceration to be enforced amicably (which practically never happens) would be the realized ideal of socialism.) No doubt, that's rough, though, when you must contemplate either emigrating or enduring the savagery.

Outlaw Zee Truth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140008)

Up next, the War against Truthiness. All net, all channels. Would you like to know more?

New submitter Hermanas is now new-submitter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38140616)

New submitter Hermanas is now new-submitter [redacted].

Hermananas, we understand why you are going into hiding. Good luck.

-A. Coward

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