I used to think that South Africa was a democratic country and that our rights as citizens were respected by our government. But everything soon changed on the 22 November 2011 when the Secrecy Bill proposed by the ANC, ruling party, was passed. They went ahead and passed this bill even though almost everyone in this country is against it.
The ANC says that the bill will be used by government to restrict information it deems necessary for national security. However, they don’t a clear explanation of what they regard as national security information. We are not happy about this at all because this means that the government will keep important things from us, and therefore violating our rights as the citizens of this country. We also feel that this bill thing is just a front to cover up their criminal ways.
There is a lot corruption taking place within our government. And this so-called bill will protect these culprits because even the media won’t be allowed to investigate and write about them. The journalists were our eyes and ears. But now they will be too afraid to write about government officials because they may go to jail for doing so. The bill stipulates that jail sentences of up to 15 years will be handed to anyone who possesses information relating in any way to any aspect of the security services. It also proposes jail sentences of as long as 25 years for anyone accessing classified information.
So this means that the government officials—from top to bottom—will be free to steal our hard earned tax money and no one can touch them. We thought that we were free from oppression and all the other stuff that came along with the apartheid government. We thought that we were done with all of that when we first voted for and trusted the ANC back in 1994 to lead us. Back in those days the ANC fought really hard for its people and cared about their rights. It also spent most its time focusing on finding ways empower its people. But lately it feels like we are going back to where we started. And the very people we trusted to run our country are the very same people to destroy us and our freedom of speech.
It’s amazing how the ANC forgets that they are in power because us. And they also forget that if we can put them up there we can also take them down if they continue to betray our trust for their selfish ways. They must go back to the drawing board and reconsider putting the secrecy bill into effect and start focusing on important issues affecting the South African citizens.
Thandi Mkhatshwa grew up in the the small village of Tintswalo, South Africa. In 2007, she graduated from the Amazwi School of Media Arts with a Certificate in Narrative Journalism and Fieldwork Studies.She is now studying Accounting at South Africa's University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. She enjoys writing about every day life and events. She blogs once a week on AFRicanmag.com. Bookmark her blog at