Secrecy Bill ‘champion’ Cecil Burgess cracks nod for top spy job

2015-06-19 11:57
Cecil Burgess. Picture: Trevor Samson

Cecil Burgess. Picture: Trevor Samson

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Johannesburg - A former ANC MP and the man who spearheaded the processing of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill is set to become the country’s top spy. 

Parliament has nominated Cecil Burgess to become the new inspector-general of intelligence. 

Parliament announced in its papers this morning that the joint standing committee on intelligence, which generally meets behind closed doors, this week decided on Burgess as the best candidate to fill the position. 

“After deliberations, the committee nominated Mr Cecil Valentine Burgess to the National Assembly to recommend to the President for appointment,” said Parliament in the announcements, tablings and committee reports, which it publishes every week day when it is in session. 

The decision was taken on Wednesday, ending a six-month long process of trying to find a replacement for Faith Radebe, whose term ended at the end of March. She stayed on until end of May. 

The position has been empty for the past few weeks because Parliament had delayed filling it. 

Burgess is a former ANC MP and was the chairperson of the same intelligence committee in the fourth Parliament, but he failed to get re-elected back to Parliament in May 2014. 

He was also the chairperson of an ad hoc committee that processed the controversial Protection of State Information Bill, popularly known as the Secrecy Bill. 

The National Assembly will have to approve Burgess’ name in a sitting of that house and the name would then be forwarded to President Jacob Zuma for appointment. 

The committee first advertised the post of the inspector-general of intelligence in December last year and received 57 applications, of which one was a late application and another applicant withdrew. 

A subcommittee of the intelligence committee met on February 24 and recommended eight candidates to be shortlisted for interviews. Burgess was among the eight. 

The committee did not nominate a candidate. 

Sources close to the process told City Press at the time that none of the candidates was suitable for the position. 
The position was readvertised in May and 58 applications were received. 

In the meantime the Right2Know campaign, amaBhungane and the Institute for Security Studies wrote to the committee and to the speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, calling for the process to be open to the public. 

Parliament held the shortlisting and the interviews of 11 candidates in an open session. 

Read more on:    anc  |  cecil burgess

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