Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act requires people including journalists to disclose what they know about a suspected crime or to identify the person or people who told them about a suspected crime. The media have managed to erect certain barriers against discriminatory use of this law against journalists, but under the anti-terrorism legislation, there is no protection and they could be very vulnerable.
For years, journalists in South Africa have been fighting Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act which during the apartheid regime was used to try to obtain the identity of their confidential sources and which police still try to invoke.
SECTION 205 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 51 OF 1977
Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, is hereby amended by the substitution for subsection (1) of the following subsection:
"(1) A judge of [the supreme court] a High Court, a regional court magistrate or a magistrate may, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) and section 15 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication related Information Act, 2002, upon the request of [an attorney-general] a Director of Public Prosecutions or a public prosecutor authorized thereto in writing by the [attorney-general] Director of Public Prosecutions, require the attendance before him or her or any other judge, regional court magistrate or magistrate, for examination by the [attorney-general] Director of Public Prosecutions or the public prosecutor authorized thereto in writing by the [attorney-general] Director of Public Prosecutions, of any person who is likely to give material or relevant information as to any alleged offence, whether or not it is known by whom the offence was committed: Provided that if such person furnishes that information to the satisfaction of the [attorney-general] Director of Public Prosecutions or public prosecutor concerned prior to the date on which he or...