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One side of the Protection of Information Bill debacle: Diction.

Whenever something makes me really angry or sad I like to write a piece about it: a real-life adolescent screed full of sturm und drang and half-finished thoughts. Then I like to put it away somewhere where I’m absolutely certain no one will ever read it. I’m publishing this on tiltrepublic.com in the same hope. If you choose to read further, let it be on your own head. Selah.

Much has been said and fretted about the Protection of Information Bill that passed a vote in Parliament on Tuesday, but what really works me up into a quivvering frenzy of impotent rage is the abuse of the word. When you take a look at the diction of the ANC throughout the entire process, I see a tendency towards ‘have our cake and eat it too’ newspeak and doubletalk that comes right out of the H.F. Verwoerd textbook. That scares me shitless.

I wasn’t alive during his lifetime, but I’ve studied his work. And the work of Goebbels, Mugabe, Mussolini, Franco, Gaddafi, Lenin, Stalin and the works of George Orwell. Tales of men and animals who sought to have their dark designs legitimised by legislation. While the means and the ends may shift with the expediency of a crab stuck in a bucket with a thousand other crabs, they all have a few common threads: They never say what they mean, nor mean what they say.

Let’s start with the name. Anyone who’s actually read Verwoerd’s Extention of University Education Act of 1959 will know that it had less to do with ‘extending education’ at Universities and more to do with extending the Bantu Education Act of 1953 into tertiary education. In the same way that the Bantu Education Act wasn’t about educating people at all. It was a heinous crime that denied many intelligent Africans the chance to learn what they pleased and use that knowledge how they wished. What’s important for our purposes here is to note in hindsight, that the clue was in the name all along. It’s called a euphemism: the law and histroy books are full of them and they are full of shit.

The Protection of Information Bill is about protecting people and oppressing information. What is going to happen to this ‘information’ they’re protecting if it gets into the wrong hands? What could a tiny Municipality possibly have to hide that actually serves in the national interest towards the greater good? The question that follows is surely: ‘Why should they be allowed to classify information at such a low level?’. Unfortunately for us, the ANC’s stance is ‘Why not?’

It amazes me that the debate about a Public Interest Defense has raged so long in the media and along the coridoors of power. If it is, as the media says, a defence that allows certain information to be released because it is in the best interests of the public (ie: the majority, the voter, US) and the ANC has a problem with it, it follows that they have a problem with us. The Party has, as yet, not given any official reason as to why it objects to a Public Interest Defense. It appears that they consider the information interests of the few (those in power) more important than the interests of the many (again, us: Jabulani Public) and we shouldn’t be surprised!

At the moment, the ANC’s official membership sits at around 600 000, it was only about 300 000 in 1996, and they hope to grow it to 1 000 000 by NEXT YEAR so they can achieve a meaningless numerical milestone to go along with their centenary celebrations. Even if they achieve this incredible doubling act by then, it still means that every single card-carrying ANC member, every single Comrade deemed by that desigantion fit to fill any number of gaping Governmental and Infrastructural vacancies, every person who (according to Luthuli House) could contribute meaningfully to our democracy, makes up only one fiftieth of our population. It’s ridiculous. Yes they have a majority in parliament garnered through a free vote, I’m not contesting elections here, but their voters are not entitled to enjoy the fruits of democracy because 600 000 people believe they can do everything the best and anybody who says they can’t is obviously a racist. The Comrade-ism that enables tender fraud and mismanagement is what holds the majority of our people back now and the Protection of Information bill is designed to protect those Comrade’s Information. Not yours, not mine. Theirs.

I call upon all South Africans who plan to participate in the 2013 Elections to start exercising Rationalism. Listen to what a political party says, watch what they do. Compare notes. If the one doesn’t match the other they don’t deserve your vote or your respect.

A quick, current example to finish before I have to leave this rant to stimulate my personal economy. Just hours after voting for the Protection of Information Bill, specifically designed to keep information (read: ‘the facts’ ‘the truth’) safe by making it illegal for people to know it, the ANC’s Wikipedia page was hacked and pieces of their SECTION on corruption were redacted. You’d think a clandestine alliance of propagandists would have a good-natured lol at the ultimately powerless webgeek that tried to troll them and then move on to more important plans for total intellectual domination. I did! I was wrong. Instead of standing tall and saying, “Yeah we get to decide what you can know, now. We’re starting a theocracy and our god is easy money!” they got dark. These Freedom Charter defiling demagogues leapt to their high horse screaming bloody murder. You can’t decide what information gets to be seen and by whom, they said, “it’s conduct that is not consistent with a civilised… society” and “how does that assist any cause or anybody to tamper with information?”.

How does the tampering of information assist any cause or anybody? Come now Party spokesperson Keith Khoza, I think you know the answer to that one… And if you don’t the person who signs your expense report does. Ask the Comrade with the blood on his hands and the money in his pocket.