Gungubele appointment as spy boss a 'political chess move in ANC's factional war' - DA

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DA parliamentarian Dianne Kohler Barnard (Michael Hammond, Gallo Images)
DA parliamentarian Dianne Kohler Barnard (Michael Hammond, Gallo Images)
  • The DA has rejected Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele's appointment as political head of the SSA.
  • The DA is also concerned about Gungubele's apparent lack of intelligence background.
  • The presidency announced on Monday that Gungubele will assume political responsibility for the SSA.

The DA rejects the appointment of Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, as the political head of the State Security Agency (SSA) as "nothing more than a political chess move".

The presidency announced on Monday that President Cyril Ramaphosa had designated Gungubele to assume political responsibility for the SSA.

"While we believe that urgent intervention was needed in terms of the lack of intelligence before the catastrophic unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last year - and indeed long before then - the DA does not believe that centralising the SSA under the president is the right move," DA spokesperson on intelligence, Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement.

Kohler Barnard said:

We believe this is nothing more than a political chess move in the ANC's factional war. President Cyril Ramaphosa's tenure as leader is, in fact, paralysed by this battle between ANC factions, to the detriment of every soul living in South Africa.

"Appointing his close ally as the political head off the SSA will only fan the flames of distrust."

She said the move made oversight over the SSA extremely difficult.

"If the past 27 years taught us anything at all, it is that the ANC - no matter who is at the helm - cannot be allowed to govern without meticulous oversight."

READ | Gungubele tasked with political responsibility for State Security Agency

She said while the DA admitted that Gungubele, by all accounts, had an excellent reputation, it seemed that he had virtually no intelligence background.

"He has previously been Deputy Minister of Finance and worked in various provincial capacities. While stellar character is sorely missed in the president's Cabinet, expertise and experience must reign supreme when appointing the person meant to right the floundering SSA, and Crime and Defence Intelligence units. The alternative leaves an inexperienced minister guided by already deeply compromised SSA staff."

She said Ramaphosa should promote his current intelligence advisor Sydney Mufamadi, who penned the High-Level Review Panel Report on the SSA and chaired that investigation, to minister.

"If it means losing embarrassments like Lindiwe Sisulu, Lindiwe Zulu, Bheki Cele, or indeed 90% of the ANC Ministers, the country would be better off for it," Kohler Barnard said.

Mondli Gungubele. (Photo from GCIS)

"South Africa simply cannot afford a veil of secrecy over the SSA. Sadly, that is all the president has achieved here. The fact that he has chosen to go against the High-Level Review Panel report's advice, speaks volumes. Especially in the light of the approaching ANC elective conference. The country is suffocating under the ANC government and finding new ways to hide the bodies in order to protect cadres and cronies cannot and should not be tolerated."

ALSO READ | Ramaphosa does away with intelligence ministry, SSA to report directly to him

When Ramaphosa shuffled his Cabinet on 5 August, he scrapped the State Security Ministry, moved then state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo to the Public Service and Administration portfolio, and said the state security would fall under the presidency.

"This is to ensure that the country's domestic and foreign intelligence services more effectively enable the president to exercise his responsibility to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation," said Ramaphosa during his Cabinet announcement.

Ramaphosa also appointed Gungubele as Minister in the Presidency, after this post became vacant with the death of Jackson Mthembu.

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