Cwele ducks spy spending question

2013-11-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The DA yesterday said State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and his cohorts in the security cluster have no respect for Parliament.

DA MP David Maynier had asked Cwele a parliamentary question about whether the standing committee’s annual reports from 2009 to 2010 had been received and, if not, what reasons were given for any late submissions.

Cwele’s answer was published on Tuesday by Parliament, but he had only this to say: “We have received the annual reports for 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. We have not received the 2012/2013 report.”

No answer was given on when the reports were submitted and the reasons for the reports being late.

Spokesperson for Cwele, Brian Dube, yesterday said he had not seen the minister’s answer and could add anything to it.

Maynier said Cwele was simply refusing to answer uncomfortable questions and was trying to dig himself out of a very deep political hole, showing resistance to be held accountable to the Parliament.

Maynier warned that when “mighty state organs” like the State Security Agency (SSA) do not have to give to Parliament a proper accounting of the billions they receive, South Africa’s democracy is in deep trouble.

SSA governs South Africa’s spies and its annual reports provide government with the only glimpse it can get on how it had spent the R4 billion that was budgeted for it this year.

The Intelligence Services Oversight Act (40 of 1994) determines that the joint standing committee, which holds closed-door meetings, must within two months after the end of a financial year submit an annual report to the Presidency, Parliament and the Ministry of State Security. It normally includes the financial statements for the spy services.

Neither Parliament nor the Presidency had received any of the annual reports since 2010 and State Security had to date refused to confirm or deny that the reports had been submitted.

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