Parliamentary Question: DeD: Top secret documents


Mr S J F Marais (DA) to ask the Minister of Economic Development:
(1)How many documents have (a) his (i) ministry and (ii) department and (b) any (i) institution or (ii) agency which receives transfers from his departmental budget classified as (aa) top secret, (bb) secret, (cc) confidential and (dd) restricted under the provisions of the Minimum Information

Security Standards that were adopted by the Cabinet on 4 December 1996 in the (aaa) 2005-06, (bbb) 2006-07, (ccc) 2007-08, (ddd) 2008-09 and (eee) 2009-10 financial years;
(2) what is the (a) name and (b)(i) rank or (ii) employment level of the official who decided on the classification at each specified public body?

(1)EDD was not in existence in the years mentioned except 2009/10. Even so it is not practicable to indicate “how many” documents have been classified. What may be useful is an indication of EDD’s practice in this regard. The practice in EDD is to classify Cabinet documents “secret”, including Cabinet Memoranda, their annexures and Powerpoint presentations. “Top secret” is seldom used. The practice in EDD is to classify certain reports and correspondence “confidential” for various reasons, but most often to avoid damage to the integrity of an individual or an institution. For the same reason, documentation on personnel matters is in the ordinary course classified “confidential”. The classification “restricted” has not been used by EDD to date. The majority of communications to and from EDD are not classified.

The six entities reporting to EDD are: the Competition Commission; the Competition Tribunal; the International Trade Administration of South Africa; the Industrial Development Corporation; the South Africa Micro-Finance Apex Fund; and Khula Enterprise Limited. Of these only Samaf indicated that it uses MISS as one of the policies guiding the protection and release of its information. Please refer to the response to question 128 submitted to Parliament on 24 February 2011.

Samaf applies the same broad principles to classification as EDD. It has not classified anything, “secret”, “top secret” or “restricted”, but some documents including personnel documents have been classified “confidential”.
(2) All officials in EDD who draft Cabinet Memoranda, their annexures, Powerpoint presentations for Cabinet, reports, correspondence and other documents on behalf of the department may classify them. In the ordinary course it is the drafter who classifies a document. These officials’ ranks vary from Assistant Director to Director-General.