The Presidency blasted State Security Agency staffers on Sunday, ordering them to conduct themselves with integrity following a report that some officials are undermining the new SSA minister during the operational review he ordered.
"While the review process unfolds, political responsibility for the SSA remains with Minister of State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and management and staff at the agency are expected to conduct themselves with the requisite responsibility, respect and integrity," it said in a statement.
The Sunday Times reported that the review of operations and its finances has some staffers alternately undermining SSA Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba in defence of blocs formed during the presidency of Jacob Zuma, or accusing her of having political motives.
In the statement, the Presidency repeated much of what it said in its announcement of the formation of the panel in June, chaired by former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi.
The other members of the panel include former spy boss Barry Gilder, Professor Jane Duncan, Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk, Professor Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Murray Michell, Basetsana Molebatsi, Siphokazi Magadla, Andre Pruis and Silumko Sokupa.
Its mandate is capacity and organisational integrity of the State Security Agency in the light of its duty to provide intelligence on possible threats to South Africa's safety, its people and its Constitutional order.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had earlier shifted SSA director-general Arthur Fraser to the Department of Correctional Services. This was seen as the first move in overhauling the agency which was battling allegations of corruption.
Although not confirming the specifics such as re-vetting as reported by the Sunday Times, the Presidency said the panel's terms of reference are to "identify all material factors that allowed for the development of some of the current challenges within the agency, so that appropriate measures can be instituted to prevent a recurrence".
"The panel has been established to assist in ensuring a responsible and accountable national intelligence capability for the country in line with the Constitution and relevant legislation."
The Presidency said the panel will present its report to Ramaphosa in due course.