NEWS & ANALYSIS

Not SSA's job to fight ANC political battles - John Steenhuisen

DA Chief Whip says he will ask IGI to prove covert unit operating within agency

SSA must act in the national interest, not fight ANC political battles

The DA will ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to urgently probe allegations that there is a covert unit operating within the State Security Agency (SSA). This unit is allegedly abusing state resources to target President Zuma’s political opponents and reporting directly to President Zuma and the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo.

The alarming media reports, further allege that the covert unit’s illegal operations were funded through the daylight theft of R17 million, in foreign currency, from the SSA’s headquarters in December 2015. This break-in appears to have been the beginning of a string of very serious and targeted break-ins at key democratic institutions, including:

- 50 Laptops, with sensitive information, stolen from the Department of Defence’s Intelligence headquarters in December 2015;
- 15 Computers, with confidential information on South Africa’s Judges, stolen from the Office of the Chief Justice in March 2017;
- Computers stolen from the Hawk’s headquarters in July 2017; and
- 2 laptops stolen from the NPA’s offices in July 2017.

These allegations only serve to highlight the free-reign the SSA has enjoyed for far too long and strengthens the need for increased oversight of the SSA.

It is high time that the Intelligence Services Oversight Act, Act No 40 of 1994 is reviewed and amended so that budgetary and financial accountability measures can be introduced as a sea of funds is clearly not regulated and is now likely being abused by the politically corrupt.

The SSA’s covert support unit exists to fight terrorism and organised crime, not to illegally conduct surveillance and intercept calls and emails of public officials. The SSA must be brought back into line and the loopholes through which Zuma and his cronies abuse these resources shut down by introducing the requisite measures through legislation.

Statement issued by John Steenhuisen MP, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, 8 September 2017