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#UnrestSA: Parliament to hold inquiry into alleged intelligence service failures

South Africa Police Services (SAPS) officers stop looters from looting in central Durban.


South Africa Police Services (SAPS) officers stop looters from looting in central Durban.

  • Parliament will embark on an inquiry into allegations of intelligence failures by the intelligence services following unrest in July.
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence engaged with intelligence services on 15 and 16 July to perform oversight.
  • The inquiry will be held in closed sessions as guided by the Intelligence Services Oversight Act.

The parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) will embark on an inquiry into allegations of intelligence failures by the intelligence services, following unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during July.

On Monday, committee chairperson Jerome Maake said they had engaged with the intelligence services on 15 and 16 July to perform their oversight role as outlined in the Constitution.

“At these meetings, the need for the inquiry emerged after the committee received full briefings on the July unrests from the intelligence services,” Maake said.

He added that the inquiry would be confined to the mandate of the JSCI as contained in the Constitution, the applicable legislation, and joint rules of Parliament.

“The High-Level Review Panel report reflects the challenges in the intelligence services and what needs to be done. More importantly, the Legacy Report of the Fifth Parliament also indicates the same challenges,” said Maake.

ALSO READ | Anatomy of a violent July: Data mapping shows unrest was part of tactical plan to shut down SA

He added that there were concerns with the slow implementation of the recommendations.

“It is for this reason that several special meetings were held in Pretoria with the Minister of State Security and the State Security Agency (SSA), even at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic as reflected in the Annual Report of the JSCI which is going to be published.”

The committee urged the SSA to implement the recommendations without delay and to continue reporting on a quarterly basis. 

Following the Constitutional Court judgment on 29 June that found former president Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison, numerous acts of violence and protest sparked throughout KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. In KwaZulu-Natal, the unrest claimed 36 lives.

Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in prison.

READ | SAHRC to hold hearings into KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng unrest

Maake added that, unlike other parliamentary committees, the JSCI conducted its activities in closed sessions as guided by the Intelligence Services Oversight Act, and that not all information pertaining to the work of the committee may be disclosed to the public. 

“However, some information will be contained in the Annual Report of the JSCI to be published soon.”

He said they were also following and awaiting the report of the Zondo Commission.

“In the meantime, oversight continues which includes probing some of the matters ventilated at the commission,” he said.

Maake also lauded advocate MS Muofhe for his tenure as the SSA’s Domestic Branch director. Muofhe retired on 31 July.

“We are grateful for his service and wish him well on his retirement and future endeavours.” 


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