The South African government’s security apparatus wants a suitable person to become Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) and extended the deadline for applications.
The July outbreak of violent civil unrest, which led to more than 300 deaths, billions worth of infrastructure damage as well as extensive looting and unrest, put the three-pronged security machine, comprising the State Security Agency (SSA), Defence Intelligence (DI) and SAPS (SA Police Service) Crime Intelligence (CI) front and centre in the public eye. The apparent lack of intelligence gathering as well as its supposed dissemination to relevant government departments and agencies was reportedly one reason for the dismissal of State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
As those tasked with finding a new person to head internal oversight of the SSA, now under the control of President Cyril Ramaphosa, wait for applications, pre-screening and interviews, a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian wants to know why South Africans cannot see or read the SSA report on looting in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to Dianne Kohler Barnard, the party’s shadow state security minister, SSA denied a request to make public intelligence reports then Minister Dlodlo claimed were handed to law enforcement officials ahead of violence in the wake of Jacob Zuma’s Estcourt imprisonment in mid-July.
“The decision to hide behind sections of the Intelligence Services and Promotion of Access to Information acts is cowardice, highlighting the State’s desire to maintain a veil of secrecy around July’s catastrophic events,” she said, adding the high level review panel (chaired by former police minister Sidney Mufamadi) decried the secretive approach of the SSA long before the tragic and damaging events in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Complete transparency is required in terms of who knew what and when as well as how the security cluster twiddled their thumbs as KwaZulu-Natal’s industries and livelihoods went up in flames,” Kohler Barnard said. She does not hold out much hope for the Parliamentary enquiry into the violence seeing it as “an attempt to whitewash the ruling party’s failures”.
Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) chair Jerome Maake said enquiries received after the closing date for applications for the IGI post led to the closing date being extended with a new closing date of 30 September given in a Parliamentary Communication Service statement.
Among his or her duties, the new IGI will monitor intelligence and counter-intelligence activities of SSA, DI and SAPS crime intelligence.