Inspector General candidates questioned on political connections

2016-11-09 07:46
Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Some of the candidates vying for the Inspector General of Intelligence position were interrogated on their political connections as well as their ability to remain objective.

Parliament's intelligence committee was interviewing candidates for the post on Tuesday, where two of the five candidates were questioned on objectivity.

Candidate Mampogoane Nchabeleng, who works at the Inspector General's office, had included a letter from an MEC in Limpopo in his application while his colleague Smanga Jele had former spy chief Billy Masetlha and Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba as references.

This raised DA MP Hendrik Schmidt's hackles, who questioned why the candidates needed to include references from officials associated with the ANC.

Schmidt asked if they were trying to curry favour with the ANC, and if they would be able to be impartial.

"Why did you feel the need to have these exact people as your references?" he asked the two.

Both candidates were adamant that they had not chosen the officials as references for their membership of the ANC.

'He is someone who knows me'

Nchabeleng said the MEC he used as a reference was someone who had known him since he was a young person.

They had grown up together, he said, and he had not meant for the reference to be taken any other way.

"When I was thinking of a reference, I thought of him because he is someone who knows me. And if you read the letter, you can see that it's focused mostly on my youth and those years," he said.

Jele said he had included the ANC heavyweights because they were simply people he had worked with, who knew his work ethic.

In 2015 the committee had selected and recommended former ANC MP Cecil Burgess for the position, but the recommendation was abandoned when it failed to get sufficient support from opposition parties.

The process was restarted in April 2016, before it was abandoned again.

The position was advertised again in October and 10 candidates were shortlisted in November.

The committee started interviews on Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday.

Read more on:    inspector general  |  parliament

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