'Political malpurposing and factionalisation' of intelligence community found by high-level review panel

2019-03-09 18:10

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A high-level review panel has found "political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community" over the past 10 years or more which has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts, the Presidency announced on Saturday.

"It proposes the urgent development of a national security strategy as an overriding basis for redefining and refining the concepts, values, policies, practices, and architecture involved in South Africa’s approach to security. This review should consider the separation of the State Security Agency into two services – a domestic and a foreign service – with prudent delineation of scope," the statement released by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko reads.

"With regard to investigations and consequences, the panel recommends that the President instruct the appropriate law enforcement bodies, oversight institutions and internal disciplinary bodies to investigate all manifest breaches of the law, regulations and other prescripts in the SSA as highlighted by the report of the panel, with a view to instituting, where appropriate, criminal prosecution and/or disciplinary proceedings."

Ramaphosa has authorized the publication of the panel’s report, which had assessed the SSA’s mandate, capacity, and organizational integrity.

Also read: Low staff morale, leadership instability among issues in review panel’s report on the SSA

The panel, appointed in June last year to assess the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and enquire into its systems and capacity, was chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi and comprised nine more members with a "wide range of senior-level experience and expertise" in law, security studies, civil society, academia, the intelligence, and security community and other arms of government, Diko said.

"President Ramaphosa asked the panel to identify all material factors that contributed to current challenges in the State Security Agency so that appropriate measures could be instituted to prevent a recurrence. The main objective of the review panel was to assist in ensuring a responsible and accountable national intelligence capability for the country in line with the Constitution and relevant legislation."

The report had been shared with stakeholders including Minister of State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Inspector-General of Intelligence Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, and Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, Diko said.

"The report has been redacted for public consumption in view of the fact that the full report contains the names and identities of persons who cannot be named at this point, as well as details of operational matters that would compromise the work of the State Security Agency," Diko said.

 

Read more on:    state security agency  |  cyril ramaphosa
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