A number of applications have been received for the position of Inspector General of Intelligence but no decision has as yet been taken on whether the selection process will be an open one.
Cornelia September, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, said the committee will meet “shortly” to consider the applications and will also determine “whether and to what extent the proceedings will be open to the public”.
“It is unfortunate a number of people appear to have already assumed, and prematurely so, that the Committee has already resolved the process will be a closed one. It is also unfortunate a number of other people who are not members of the Committee have contributed to misleading the public on this matter,” she said in a statement issued by Parliamentary Communication Services and, while not mentioning him by name, in obvious reference to a statement issued earlier in the week by DA MP David Maynier.
His call for the appointment process to find an Intelligence Inspector General who is impartial and independent and will perform his or her functions without fear or favour appears to have struck a chord with September who issued her statement 24 hours later. Maynier maintains the appointment process must be public or suspicions will be raised once it is confirmed.
“The Committee will have due regard to the constitutional and legislative framework, the nature of the matter, the roles and functions of the Inspector General of Intelligence as well as all other relevant factors in its consideration of whether or not to open the proceedings, or any portion thereof, and any applicable parameters for doing so.
“The Committee will also take into account the appointments of previous Inspectors General of Intelligence have included processes that were open to the public and the media,” September’s statement reads.
She assures South Africans the appointment process will be conducted “within the ambit of applicable legislation as well as the Rules of Parliament and the Committee, which will continue to have a high regard for promoting the best interests of the country and protecting the rights of its citizens”.
Maynier has for more than five years been at loggerheads with the Department of Defence as regards the possible acquisition of a synthetic radar “spy” satellite by Defence Intelligence.
He maintains the Intelligence Inspector General’s ability to “literally go through the bottom drawers of Crime Intelligence, Defence Intelligence and the State Security Agency” will help shed light on allegedly nefarious acquisitions and operations.