Signal jammer explanation lame, says Kasrils

2015-02-20 08:06
Ronnie Kasrils (File, Beeld)

Ronnie Kasrils (File, Beeld)

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Cellphone jamming is illegal - Right2Know

2015-02-18 14:21

WATCH | ICASA has ruled for around 10 years that cellphone jamming is unlawful in South Africa but there's one important caveat... WATCH

Cape Town - State Security Minister David Mahlobo's explanation that the signal jamming in Parliament during last week's State of the Nation address was a mistake is about as believable as the "dog ate my homework" excuse, says former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.

Kasrils told Netwerk24 that the wool is being pulled over the public's eyes, and asked whether the state security department thought people were stupid enough to believe such a hopeless excuse.

This comes after the department released a statement explaining why the signal was disrupted ahead of President Jacob Zuma's address last Thursday. It said the State Security Agency was responsible for a threat and risk assessment, and had enforced airspace security through the device.

'Operational error'

"The signal disruption was caused by an operational error by the member on duty.  The operator failed to properly terminate the device and this impacted on proper access to some users of mobile phones. A departmental investigation is currently underway with a possibility of disciplinary action for those responsible for this operational failure," the statement read.

Journalists protested about the loss of cellphone signal ahead of the State of the Nation address, and it was restored after Speaker Baleka Mbete asked officials to look into the matter.

The state security department said there was no executive or political decision to interfere with the free flow of information and transparency during the address.

Ministers in the state security cluster also spoke about the issue at a media briefing on Thursday.

However, Kasrils told Netwerk24 he is familiar with the signal jamming device that was apparently used, and it has nothing to do with airspace security and low-flying aircraft.

He also expressed disbelief that it was the fault of the operator, arguing that it would be a command structure decision.

Read more on:    ronnie kasrils  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015  |  politics

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