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High level review panel named to investigate State Security Agency

State Security Agency review panelPresident Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a high level review panel to assess the mandate, capacity and organisational integrity of South Africa’s intelligence community under the umbrella of the State Security Agency (SSA).

The appointment follows a Presidential statement to the National Assembly in early May of his intention to review the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and “enquire into its systems and capacity” according to a Presidency statement.

At the same time Ramaphosa announced the appointment of former defence minister Charles Nqakula as his National Security Advisor.

The 10-strong panel will be headed by Dr Sydney Mufamadi, a former police minister, and has three months to “undertake and conclude its work”.

Other panel members are Barry Gilder, Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk, Professor Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Murray Michell, Basetsana Molebatsi, Siphokazi Magadla, Andre Pruis, Professor Jane Duncan and Silumko Sokupa.

The panel, according to a Presidency statement, “must seek to identify all material factors that allowed for some of the current challenges within the SSA so 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”.

Ramaphosa recently moved SSA director-general Arthur Fraser to the Department of Correctional Services following claims he was interfering with the work of Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, Intelligence inspector general. The president appointed a new Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, as part of a Cabinet reshuffle earlier this year. She replaced Bongani Bongo.