President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday announced the appointment of former safety and security minister Dr Sydney Mufamadi to chair a high-level review panel to assess the operations of the State Security Agency.
The panel is tasked with assessing the mandate, capacity and organisational integrity of the agency.
Opposition parties have been taking Ramaphosa to task for shifting former State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser to the correctional services department instead of firing him. Fraser has been accused of corruption and purging experienced officials in the agency through restructuring it in order for his office to gain total control of operations.
Ramaphosa, in a question and answer session in Parliament, explained the shifting of Fraser as the first move in overhauling the agency, which has been plagued by allegations of corruption. This brought to an end Fraser’s 19-month tenure at the helm of the State Security Agency.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the panel appointments were in line with Ramaphosa’s statements made in the National Assembly last month.
“President Ramaphosa has said that the panel must seek to identify all material factors that allowed for some of the current challenges within the agency so that appropriate measures are instituted to prevent a recurrence.
“The main objective of the review panel is to assist in ensuring a responsible and accountable national intelligence capability for the country in line with the Constitution and relevant legislation,” explained Diko.
The president said that the main objective of the review panel was to assist with ensuring “a responsible and accountable national intelligence capability for the country in line with the Constitution and relevant legislation”.
Other panel members include Professor Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Murray Michell, Basetsana Molebatsi, Siphokazi Magadla, Andre Pruis, Barry Gilder and Anthoni van Nieuwkerk.
In addition to this panel, Ramaphosa also appointed former defence minister, Charles Nqakula, as his national security adviser.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse applauded Ramaphosa for appointing the panel saying the security agency needed to be investigated as the agency was responsible for aiding and abetting state capture under former president Jacob Zuma.