Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

12 February 2013

South Africa: Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence Is in Contempt of Parliament

press release

Parliament's Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence (JSCI) has failed to report to Parliament on its activities since 2011, and the latest information we have on the committee's work refers back to 2010.

In fact, since 2005 the committee has failed to report to Parliament on the annual basis required by Section 6 of the Intelligence Services Control Act, as shown in the following table:

Reporting year

Statutory due date

Actual tabling date

2004-05

31 May 2005

9 May 2007

2005-06

31 May 2006

18 October 2007

2006-07

31 May 2007

No tabling

2007-08

31 May 2008

26 May 2010

2008-09

31 May 2009

No tabling

2009-10

31 May 2010

21 September 2011

2010-11

31 May 2011

No tabling

2012-12

31 May 2012

No tabling

We believe that these reports are actually sitting in the Presidency awaiting sign-off by the President. The delay in this process makes us question what exactly these reports contain and what the President is trying to hide from Parliament.

On 10 May 2012 I wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to alert him to this and to request an urgent special report from the JSCI. Mr Sisulu replied on 25 January 2013, stating that he had written to the Chairperson to remind him of the committee's obligations.

This is simply not good enough.

It is unthinkable that this crucial committee fail in its statutory obligations to Parliament, and it is unthinkable that we would continue allowing it to do so.

In terms of Section 56(a) and (c) of the Constitution, Parliament has unlimited powers to compel any individual to appear before it, to produce documents and to report to it.

I will be writing to Parliament's Presiding Officer to request that the Chairperson of the JSCI, Cecil Burgess, be summoned to an urgent meeting of the Joint Rules Committee to explain its failure to report to Parliament. If this request is refused, I will ask the House to take action.

Watty Watson, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance

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