President Jacob Zuma says changes in the global environment, including the recent financial crisis, "have brought new dimensions in the analysis of national security." He says "the threat to national security is changing."
Zuma was addressing state security officials at Musanda, the community's headquarters on Delmas Road in Rietvlei, south-east of Pretoria on Intelligence Services Day.
The complex houses the Ministry of State Security as well as the new State Security Agency that is being formed from the National Intelligence Agency and SA Secret Service.
The president told his spies individual nations constitute less of a threat "while criminal and terrorist organisations show high levels of belligerence, are powerful and violent."
In addition, he said, the demands and expectations of citizens are changing.
"The emphasis on human security, and the explosion of information has led to the borderless movement of people and finances. These rapid global changes create uncertainty in the future of any nation.
"More than any other time, we need to emphasise the significance of early warning and the ability to adequately respond to the unknown emanating internally or elsewhere in the world.
"The services must fine-tune and strengthen the analysis functions in order to timeously, accurately and factually forewarn and advise decision-makers. These are all critical responsibilities," Zuma said.
"We must also bear in mind that Government has identified five priorities; education, health care, creation of decent and sustainable jobs, the fight against crime and rural development.
"To realise progress on these priorities we need the state security services to develop a sustainable and measurable strategy to protect and support the government programmes from disruption and ensure an enduring security.
"The vehicle towards this is the national security strategy, which must define clear roles for each of the security agencies in pursuing these priorities.
"Our strategy seeks to mobilise communities, citizens and all organisations into a joint effort to harness the new opportunities and strengthen the sense of unity in responding to the challenges of defending our country.
"The national security strategy must emphasise cooperation and integration of systems amongst the departments and components of government in the fight against crime and corruption," Zuma, himself a former intelligence operative said. Zuma headed the intelligence department of the then-banned African National Congress from 1987.
"It must help us to improve migration control and border management, and in this case we must move with speed in the establishment of the Border Management Agency," he continued.
"We must also prioritise the management of internal stability, protection of information and national infrastructure, facilitation of customs and trade; as well as the pursuit of peace and security in the continent.
"The strategy must give impetus to the fight against crime and corruption. We have made a commitment to lower the levels of crime in the country.
"Our intelligence community must therefore strengthen the already existing formidable and unrelenting partnership with the police in declaring war against crime and elements of internal instability.
"One issue that must be prioritised is to look into the violence that has accompanied protests in communities.
"The right to peaceful and democratic protest is recognised by the Constitution, and must be defended by our security agencies and all of us.
"However, what worries us is the element of violence and destruction of property. We need to know why our people would choose to be violent instead of pursuing their rightful demands in a peaceful manner," Zuma said.
"The failure to detect these in some quarters is declared as 'intelligence failure'. We expect our services to timeously identify such threats.
"The explosion of the xenophobic attacks in 2008 is a case in point. Our detection mechanisms must be sharper and more effective and efficient, without intruding into the lives of citizens unnecessarily."
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