Fill Inspector General of Intelligence post urgently - R2K

2016-04-22 17:00
(Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, News24)

(Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, News24)

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Cape Town - The Right2Know campaign wants the vacant post of Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) to be filled urgently after a long period of having nobody keeping South Africa's intelligence services in check and preventing possible abuse.

Six candidates were chosen in an open meeting on Friday, with MPs on a sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence wading through 39 applications presented to them in thick lever arch files.

In a statement earlier this week, R2K called for the shortlisting process to be open to the public and set a deadline of May 27 for the position to be filled, after a long vacancy following the departure of previous IGI Faith Radebe.

Radebe was appointed in 2010 and her term of office ended a year ago and R2K believed the position was too important to be left vacant. 

R2K co-ordinator Murray Hunter told News24 that the job of the IGI was to monitor intelligence and counter-intelligence. The IGI can, for example, investigate a private individual's complaint that a phone has been tapped.

The position is provided for in the Constitution and in terms of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act.

The IGI must be independent and reports to the JSCI and to the president. Confirmation of the candidate chosen for the position of IGI is done with a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament, and this often slows down the process.

A previous attempt by the ANC to have its candidate Cecil Burgess confirmed fell through because it did not have a two-thirds majority and it could not drum up enough extra votes among the opposition.

Burgess's candidacy was withdrawn and neither sub-committee chair Connie September, nor Burgess, would say whether he had reapplied when the post was re-advertised.

September told committee members were told on Friday that the secretariat of the committee had already weeded out applicants it thought were not suitable, or who were disqualified for leaving information off the application form. The MPs still had the right to question if a candidate had been correctly deemed unsuitable or disqualified.

Jay Govender, the legal advisor at the IGI, was proposed in the first round of shortlisting, but her name fell off the list in the final round. With the IGI post vacant, and with no deputy, Govender is considered the most senior person at the authority. 


After going through the names of the applicants, the following candidates were shortlisted: 

- Advocate Unathi Bruce Bongco. Bongco's name pops up in reports on the Open Government Partnership as a programme manager. The organisation worked towards transparency and accountability in government. In a footnote to an article on he was described as member of the ANCYL and the ANC. It is not clear whether is still is a member. In that article he lamented divisions within the ANC.

- Advocate Seswanthsho Godfrey Lebeya, a former head of detective services and deputy national commissioner of police, was caught up in a fight over his job in 2014. He took the SA Police Service to court when it tried to make him redundant, allegedly without consultation, after 30 years' service. He had been told he would be transferred to a research unit still to be established, or he would lose his job. In the course of correspondence on the matter, he was told that because he had not accepted the new post, he would have to leave. In May 2014, the court ordered that now suspended commissioner Riah Phiyega consult with him and a colleague, Leah Mofomme, before moving them anywhere. The Mail & Guardian reported that Lebeya, who previously headed crime detection, also oversaw the internal police investigation into the alleged maladministration of the crime intelligence division.

Lebeya was also a witness at the inquest into whether former police intelligence head Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli was responsible for the death of a love rival, Oupa Ramogibe. After the judgment, which cleared Mdluli, Lebeya asked that the record of the inquest be corrected, because he believed certain statements had erroneously been attributed to him and had given the impression that he was part of a supposed movement to remove Mdluli.

Mdluli had mentioned him in a letter to President Jacob Zuma in November 2011, that there was a group of people trying to get rid of him. They included former national police commissioner Bheki Cele, former Gauteng provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros and Hawks commander Anwa Dramat. 

- Modesta Dianne Phillips: Information on Phillips was not readily available. This will probably come to light during the interview process.

- Dr Nyelisani Clarence Tshitereke won the Stellenbosch Student Representative Council's Award for Outstanding Alumni in October last year. According to the statement accompanying the award, at the time he was director in the Office of the Vice Chancellor and principal at the University of Venda.

He was a senior manager in the Presidency as Director: International Relations and Trade, and was in the Department of Housing as Chief Director: Executive Support. He was also Chief Director: Research for the Ministry of Defence between 2009 and 2011. He was also a Head of the Old Mutual Foundation overseeing Corporate Social Investment. According to the University of Venda he holds a BA in Political Studies from the University of Cape Town; an M Phil in Political Management from the University of Stellenbosch; and a PhD in International Relations and Development Studies (Cum Laude) with Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. His PhD thesis topic was: "GEAR and Labour in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Study of the Gold Mining Industry – 1987-2004".

- Professor Bruce William Watson from the University of Stellenbosch is described on the university's web page as a cutting edge ICT researcher who specialises in big data and data analysis. He has a background in computer engineering, software design, intelligence analysis and information security. His reams of qualifications include a Doctorate in Computer Engineering, an Honours Bachelor in Mathematics specialising in Computer Science and Combinatorics & Optimisation. 

- Brightboy Nhlakanipho Nkontwana was an acting director general in the department of public service, was a general manager for group employee relations at the SABC, and a chief negotiator there, according to a biography on the Peace and Collaborative Development Network website. He acted as advisor to the team appointed by ministers on the repositioning of Civilian Intelligence Structures, was a negotiator for Public Services and Administration, worked at Intelligence Services as a Human Resources consultant. He is a former member of the board of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration and served at NEDLAC on behalf of the state.

He was also chairperson of the Midrand Community Policing Forum. His qualifications include a BA in Social Sciences, A B.Com Honours and, at the time of this biography, was finishing his M Phil in South African Politics and International Economy. He was also on the board of the Grace Bible Church and the Gospel Music Association according to a biography on the GMA.

The candidates' names will be submitted to the JSCI who will start a process of vetting.

Read more on:    right2know

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