South Africa's Zuma rejects reports his office is drafting emergency laws

South Africa's Zuma rejects reports his office is drafting emergency laws
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma speaks during the Energy Indaba conference in Midrand, South Africa, December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma has rejected local news reports that his office has started drafting regulations for a state of emergency, the president’s office said on Tuesday.

Emergency laws were last deployed in parts of Africa’s most industrialised economy in 1985 under former president P.W. Botha, the face of white South Africa as president at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle.

“The Presidency rejects the media reports alleging that The Presidency has started composing draft regulations for a state of emergency and that President Jacob Zuma has appointed a team to draw up such regulations,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

“The Presidency is not working on regulations for a state of emergency.”

Emergency powers have not been used in South Africa since the country’s 1994 transition to multi-racial democracy after decades of white apartheid rule.

The Rapport newspaper had reported that Zuma had ordered that regulations for a state of emergency be prepared to be part of the State of Emergency Act passed in 1997.

The newspaper said the detailed regulations that would outline what should happen during a state of emergency were never passed into law when the main legislation was enacted. It cited documents showing that Zuma had set up a team to make the draft regulations.

According to Rapport‚ the draft regulations would ban anyone from writing‚ publishing or broadcasting threatening material and give security forces power to use as much force as necessary to restore law and order.

(Reporting by James Macharia, Editing by William Maclean)

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