‘Probe intelligence services’

2011-09-15 14:29

Inspector-General of Intelligence Faith Radebe has been asked to probe the reported abuse of the intelligence services to fight factional battles in the ANC.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said today State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele had assured President Jacob Zuma earlier this week he did not want the intelligence services to be abused.

“However there is a strong sense that this is precisely what is happening,” Trollip said.

“It is therefore imperative that the inspector-general investigate without delay.”

The investigation should focus on three key areas, Trollip said.

The first was what he described as the improper provision of security services, primarily the protection reportedly given to Cwele’s wife Sheryl during her drug trial.

The second was “the politicisation of the intelligence services”. Trollip claimed this had seen intelligence gathered for the purposes of fighting battles within the ANC.

The reported feeding of state security information to the ANC Youth League should also be probed, he said.

Another area requiring investigation was confusion regarding the reported resignation of State Security Agency head Gibson Njenje.

According to weekend media reports Cwele had asked Njenje, department director-general Jeff Maqetuka and SA Secret Service head Moe Shaik to quit.

They refused and sought legal advice, the City Press reported.

According to the Sunday Independent, Njenje, Shaik and Maqetuka recently complained to Zuma about difficulties in their relationship with Cwele. Njenje was reportedly unhappy about “unauthorised” operations.

These included the surveillance of unnamed Cabinet ministers. This flew in the face of his efforts to ensure the State Security Agency was not exploited for political purposes.

City Press reported that Njenje was also unhappy about a decision to grant Cwele’s wife Sheryl full intelligence protection throughout her drug trafficking trial. She was found guilty.

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said he could not comment on the latest developments.

But he added: “I wish government would refer and take heed of the shelved Matthews Report of 2008 that talks about the necessity of reforming the country’s intelligence services. It has obviously not happened.”

The Matthews Report was commissioned by Kasrils. It recommended tightening control over the intelligence agency’s involvement in domestic political affairs.

Kasrils said there were inherent and systemic problems in intelligence. Unless corrected, these would leave the institution in a problematic state.

Trollip said the DA wrote to Cwele about the matter on Sunday. It requested him to fully explain the controversy surrounding Njenje’s alleged resignation.

“The minister this week failed to appear before [Parliament’s] joint standing committee on intelligence to report on the impasse,” he said.

Radebe was mandated by the Intelligence Services Oversight Act to receive and investigate complaints from members of the public and members of the services.

She therefore had the necessary powers and authority to conduct a full investigation into the claims of abuse by state intelligence services.

Trollip said the Matthews Report’s recommendations were even more pertinent now. This was because of current fears about the impact of the Protection of Information Bill on the hegemony of the intelligence services.

The intelligence services should be used to protect the security of the South African people, not the interests of political factions.

“It is of national importance that the inspector-general investigates those allegations which suggest that this is not currently the case,” Trollip said.

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