GILAB is ‘still too authoritarian’ says OUTA


The National Assembly’s adoption of the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill (GILAB) on 24 March underlines the need for an active civil society to monitor and challenge the restriction of citizen rights, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said.

OUTA parliamentary engagement and research manager Dr Rachel Fischer said although the current version of GILAB is a major improvement from previous versions and a step in the right direction, there are still some concerns from civil society organisations.

“Those concerns include the failure by GILAB to give sufficient powers to the Auditor-General, the Inspector-General of Intelligence, and Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence to oversee the Secret Services expenditure (R4.865 billion in 2024/25).”

“Furthermore, although the Inspector-General of Intelligence can appoint their own staff and determine the organisational structure, they still cannot make legally binding decisions or recommendations, which means that their investigations into malfeasance are unlikely to lead to any form of accountability”.

“In addition, as captured in the joint media release from the Campaign for Free Expression and Intelwatch, security vetting of those with access to critical infrastructure is still allowed. This may for example be extended to SABC journalists, leaving them vulnerable and threatening their journalistic independence,” she explained.

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