Jamming from Parliament to prison?

2015-02-26 21:06
(File: City Press)

(File: City Press)

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Police, cellphone jamming breach separation of powers - Right2Know

2015-02-18 15:42

Right2Know's Murray Hunter speaks to us about how the cellphone jamming device along with the use of police in the National Assembly breaches the separation of powers.WATCH

Johannesburg – As a motion to probe the jamming of cellphone signal during the 2015 State of the Nation address has been tabled at Parliament, the correctional services department plans to use a similar device in its prisons, according to a report.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha announced on Thursday that his department was looking into using signal jammers to stop inmates from illegally using cellphones from inside prison walls, Eyewitness News reported.

This is in response to the DA’s questions about curbing cellphone usage in prisons, the report said.

On Tuesday the DA called for a multi-party ad hoc committee to be set up to probe the incidents during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address.

DA MP David Maynier , who criticised State Security Minister David Mahlobo, said: "The minister is implementing the standard operating procedure when it comes to dealing with scandals, which is the 'rogue official defence' where officials are blamed and made to walk the plank,"

He was referring to Mahlobo blaming human error for the signal jamming device not being turned off ahead of the State of the Nation address on 12 February.

"The real issue is that the State Security Agency should have played no role in the State of the Nation address on 12 February 2015," Maynier said.

In earlier reports Zuma assured SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) that the jamming of cellphone networks in Parliament will not happen again.

"Rest assured that will never happen again and we did not know about it and we are condemning it. It was uncalled for," he said after a meeting with Sanef at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

On 12 February, before Zuma delivered his State of the Bation address, journalists and some MPs protested that cellphone signals were being blocked in Parliament.

The signals were restored after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asked Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana to look into the matter.

Mahlobo said glitches with "counter-surveillance tactical measures" had led to the mobile signal disruptions on the day.

Sanef chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela said Zuma had expressed government's regret at what happened.

Sanef also made the president aware that editors had tried to talk to government officials before the start of his address, but that they "didn't get positive feedback".

"He was not aware of that and made it very clear that that should be criticised," Mkhabela said.

"Government should be able to respond when concerns are raised and... we agreed that things should always be resolved the South African way, through negotiations and conversations..."

Read more on:    da  |  jacob zuma  |  michael masutha  |  cape town  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015  |  prisons

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