Panel finds ‘political malpurposing and factionalisation’ among SA’s intelligence community
A panel appointed to review the State Security Agency (SSA) has found that there has been “political malpurposing and factionalisation” of the country’s intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts.
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, it says, should consider the separation of the SSA into two services – a domestic and a foreign service – with prudent delineation of scope.
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.
The panel, chaired by former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi, was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in June 2018 to” assess the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and enquire into its systems and capacity”.
Ramaphosa asked the 10-member panel to identify all material factors that contributed to current challenges in the 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, he said.
Ramaphosa said the panel’s report, of which he has released a redacted version, would be the subject of engagement with parliament’s joint standing committee on Intelligence, the inspector-general of intelligence and the auditor-general.
The president expressed his appreciation for the panel’s dedication to their task and for producing insights and recommendations that he said would enable open engagement on the role and character of the intelligence community in support of South Africa’s national development objectives and international relations.