State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele has pledged the intelligence community’s renewed support in fighting crime and corruption. Speaking during debate on his budget vote in the National Assembly, he said that the government has declared war on crime and set an objective to reduce crime levels in the country, particularly violent crime.
“In this regard, we will introduce in our intelligence analysis the scoping of the extent and impact of syndicated violent crimes and annual assessment of strategic crime trends in the National Intelligence Estimate,” he said. “We will establish operations against domestic and trans-national crime syndicates,” the South African Press Association quoted him as saying.
“We will employ all the capacities at our disposal, including liaison with other foreign intelligence services to share information. This has proved to be useful because it builds up into joint operations with neighbouring and fraternal countries. We will provide actionable intelligence to assist in the prosecutions or disruption of activities of the syndicates.
“In this financial year, we will also develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, which will guide our counter-terrorism operations,” Cwele said. Preparatory work had started within the security cluster, working together with the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department and Independent Electoral Commission, to provide security assessments, set up systems, and ensure the 2011 local government elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere.
“Our primary focus will be to eliminate ‘no-go areas’ in order to ensure that all South Africans participate freely in the elections without any fear of intimidation,” he said. The intelligence services continued to monitor and assess xenophobia across the country, with the aim of averting the possibility of violence against foreign nationals. “Our assessment reveals an ongoing tension between local communities and foreign nationals in various hotspots across the country.
“We will continue to work with local and émigré communities to prevent commission of these inhuman acts. We will assist, through joint operations and coordination, in the fight to root out fraud, theft and corruption within the cluster and government in general.
“Within the State Security Agency (SSA), we have instituted investigations in several areas, including the group insurance scheme for members,” he said. We will release the report once the investigations are concluded and we will not hesitate to act on the culprits. Within the cluster we will continue working with [the Department of] Home Affairs to curb the scourge of identity fraud which has become a threat to our national security, the well-being of our citizens and the integrity of our systems.
“We are going to increase our counter-intelligence capacity in order to assist government in the fight against corruption. “We shall conduct regular screening to those entrusted with state resources. We shall extend our vetting programmes to provincial and local government sphere,” Cwele said.