Budget Vote for Department of State Security Agency By Hon. David Mahlobo MP, Minister of State Security, Parliament of Republic of South Africa, Cape Town
Honourable Chairperson of the Session
Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, Hon. Charles Nqakula
Deputy Minister of the State Security Agency, Hon. Cde. Ellen Molekane and other Deputy Ministers
Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC, Hon. Doris Dlakude
Chief Whip of the JSCI, Hon. JJ Skhosana
Honourable Members of Parliament and National Council of Provinces
Honourable Members of JSCI
The Inspector General of Intelligence, Dr. Isaac Dintwe
Director-General of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, the entire SSA Leadership and members
Veterans of the Intelligence service
The Auditor General of the Republic, Mr. TK Makwetu
Leadership of ANC, Alliance and Progressive Youth Alliance
Mahlobo and Molekane Families
Comrades and friends
Fellow South Africans
Honourable Chairperson and Members, during the celebration of 23 years of our hard-won freedom and democracy, H.E. President Zuma implored us into action as a nation to deal with the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid.
In his speech at Georgetown University is 1987, the ANC President Cde. OR Tambo said, "We seek to create a united, democratic and non-racial society. We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity."
As a country and her people we are indeed on course, many of our citizens have access to basic services like housing, water, sanitation, roads, electricity, education, health care and social security that were denied before.
However we are the first to admit that more still needs to be done in the construction of this national democratic society. We can pride ourselves with the achievement of political freedom that included universal suffrage but economic freedom remains elusive.
It is for this belief that for our freedom to be complete, In realising the ideals of the National Democratic Revolution the ANC has decided on a radical socio-economic transformation agenda as a path towards building a country that is not only united in diversity but also united in equality.
The majority of our population in this country that are blacks in general, African in particular are economically disempowered and are already understandably impatient and dissatisfied with lack of real economic gains from our freedom.
These levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment are unacceptable, unsustainable and pose serious security threat to our nation.
In certain aspects of our democratic society, we note that our country is experiencing a number of challenges that appear to be testing the strength and depth of our constitutional democracy.
We need to have full confidence in the institutions of democracy which our constitution establishes and we must be confident that these matters will be handled in a manner that doesn't destabilise our country.
As the nation we have proven that through our diversity and unity we can stand together and emerge as one people. Our collectivism and unity of the people should be directed to defeating the scourge of racism, tribalism, inequality, poverty and unemployment and avoid a situation wherein the revolution is devouring its own children.
Our mandate emanates from the constitution and other relevant laws regarding to National Security by securing South Africa's sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, her people, critical infrastructure, assets and interests.
As we have indicated before, in seeking to fulfil our legal mandate we are always mindful of the need to find checks and balances to government's use of excessively harsh measures towards citizens in the name of national security.
In South Africa, the checks and balances have been developed after the dawn of democracy. Let me take this opportunity to thank the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence by diligently concluding its work with the appointment of our new Inspector General of Intelligence Dr. Isaac Dintwe.
We wish to convey our sincere congratulations to Dr. Dintwe and all the best in his new task.
There is therefore no better way in celebrating the national security achievements to date than to rededicate the national intelligence structures to continue the good story of the further consolidation of our democracy through the creation of conditions of peace and stability that is necessary to make further improvements to the lives of all South Africans, as well as those in the SADC Region, our African Continent and the rest of the world.
Global Security Environment
I am once again reminded of the words of OR Tambo at the 1969 Morogoro conference when he said and I quote: "The victories of the national liberation movements were in most cases not easy, smooth and complete, nor was the retreat of the imperialist always unplanned or a complete defeat.
Imperialism resorted to many political, military, economic and other stratagems to extend its lease of life and to save as much as it could in its erstwhile colonies. "Since the advent of our democracy, it has taken us so many years since the day these words were spoken for us to witness their manifestation.
The instability of the global environment will contribute to increasing strain on the economic, political, and security foundations of the international order that have underpinned global stability since the end of the Second World War.
Economic instability, mass migration, political dysfunction, and foreign security crises have enabled the rise of populist movements, testing the commitment of a number of countries to pluralist values. In the context of these intra-civilisational identity crises, the liberal international order faces increasing strain.
State and non-state actors will also seize the opportunity to undermine the legitimacy and control of governments and to promote their narrow interests.
As a result, states will be forced to focus increasingly on threats within their borders, to the detriment of international cooperation.
National Security Perspective
As the security services the thrust of our mandate is outlined in NDP 2030: "in 2030, people living in South Africa feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they enjoy a community life free of fear. Women walk freely in the street and children play safely outside".
In describing our current state of peace & stability in the country, our departure point is that South Africa is relatively stable notwithstanding, our security assessment which identifies economic weaknesses as the major threat to our national security and interests.
Threats to the authority of the state
Chairperson and Honourable Members, all of us agree on the constitutionally enshrined rights of association, movement and protest. In relation to the latter, our Bill of Rights provides, in Chapter 2 that: "Everyone has the right to peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions".
A series of concerns have emerged around the perceived trend towards using fears about security to justify eroding human rights and freedoms. Finding a balance on how to effectively address security, while respecting human rights, constitute a key challenge of our times.
If we look back at the history of the struggle in this country, we can see that ours was a very violent one, where people found their voices through various forms of protests that ended with blood on the floor. It was the darkest period in the history of this country.
It can be argued that the violent nature of many protests in our country and the violent nature of certain crime categories in society reflect the old violence from which we come from as a nation.
We therefore have to condemn any wanton destruction of property, vandalism and at times death that is associated with some protests.
Last year we saw the proliferation of violent service delivery protests, violent student protests and violent industrial actions. In addition, we have also witnessed violence in relation to demarcation decisions such as those that occurred in Vuwani where schools bore the brunt of the destruction.
We've also noted that housing shortages have culminated in increased incidents of land invasions which have been largely politicised.
Instability in the transport sector remains a challenge. The underlying conflict over ranks and routes is compounded by the involvement of security companies. The introduction of Uber which has resulted in conflict with the metered taxi industry has further exacerbated conflicts in this sector.
The involvement of some other government officials do not assist our course of creating stability in this sector. We will continue to work tirelessly with all our partners in search of lasting solutions to the challenges of this industry.
Insecurity posed by some private security companies is not limited to the transport industry as earlier reflected. It extends to the involvement of our nationals in conflicts in the continent and other parts of the world.
The ever expanding footprint of this industry and the cash based system of transacting makes curbing illegal activities of this industry difficult. The continued provision of security services at National Key Points and Strategic Installation by private security companies which are foreign owned remains a problem.
It is essential that these strategic installations are protected by South Africans, as means to secure our sovereignty. It is our conviction that the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill will assist in resolving some of these challenges including the transformation imperatives.
Our position remains that the right to protest must be exercised in a responsible manner that doesn't impact negatively on others. In all of these, we've also noted the disturbing trend of state and non-state actors who continue to hijack legitimate socio-economic concerns for narrow political gains aimed at effecting an unconstitutional change of government.
As political leaders we must show political maturity by denouncing the exploitation of genuine community concerns for ulterior motives. We equally call on the business community to be behaving responsibly in its engagement with workers.
Information Security and Securing the Cyberspace
Honourable Chairperson and Members, personal privacy and national security in the 21st century both depend on protecting a set of systems that didn't even exist until late 20th century.
The digital and information age has brought exciting opportunities in developing our economies, improving our health care, education, agricultural production, military, provision of services and the list is endless. In the same vein, electronic computing and communication pose some of the most complex challenges the world has ever faced.
Attacks on any of these networks would potentially have disastrous consequences for individuals and for society as witnessed in the recent ransom-ware attack to more than 100 countries affecting thousands of organisations worldwide.
This cyber-attack affected UK health care system, railway in Germany, number of agencies and companies in the last week because of security deficiencies.
The international community is concerned over threats posed by possible use of such technologies both in civil and military spheres at the expense of achieving international peace, security and stability, undermining sovereignty and security of states and interference in their internal affairs, violation of citizen's private life, destabilisation of inner political and social and economic situation, advancing of racism, terrorism, ethnic and sectarian strife.
Finding a balance of respecting human rights in the field of information security and communication technologies continue to be a subject by various proponents to the equation. In our quest to secure critical information infrastructure, government has made significant strides to protect its information from attacks that emanate from cyber space.
Our country is one of the targets for cybercrime and research shows that small companies and ordinary citizens especially unsuspecting children are being targeted more and more by cyber criminals, state actors and hacktivists.
Ransomware, identity theft, cyber bullying, internet banking fraud, misuse of social networks and many other types of attacks are prevalent.
We have made significant strides on the research side. In partnership with institutions of higher learning, we have launched capacity building programmes that will bolster our capacity to respond to the problem of cyber insecurity.
These initiatives will not only bolster the capacity of government to respond to cyber insecurity, but it will create a skills base that will improve cyber security for the public and private sectors.
Good progress has also been recorded on the policy and legislative environment including relevant coordinating structures. The Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill is currently before Parliament, having gone through a process of consultation with relevant stakeholders. The Bill seeks to ensure that the country has the relevant legislative framework in place.
Information security and cybersecurity is a matter of discussion globally. As we consider appropriate legislation we should clearly address the following threats:
a) Acts of aggression aimed at discrediting the sovereignty and violation of security and territorial integrity of states and threatening international peace, security and stability;
b) For causing economic and other damages, including destructive impact on elements of information infrastructure;
c) For terrorists purposes, as well as advocacy of terrorism and recruitment for terrorists activities;
d) For committing crime, including those connected with unauthorised access to computer information;
e) Interference into internal affairs of states, violation of public order, incitement of interracial and interethnic and sectarian strife, advocacy of racist and xenophobic ideas of theories that ignite hatred and discrimination and incite and also to destabilise governance; and
f) For dissemination of information harmful for socio-political and socio-economic system, spiritual, moral and cultural environment in other states.
Unconstitutional Regime Change
A number of governments are using underhand tactics in pursuit of their narrow national interest and national security in the process destabilising a number of countries like what happened in Libya, Brazil and now in Syria. During the past year, they continued their efforts, in close collaboration with negative domestic forces, to undermine our democratic and constitutional advances.
Their modus operandi is through penetration, influencing, manipulation and ultimately subversion in the quest to advance and promote their national interests. These attacks may result in the diversion of governance and the possibility that the broader purpose of government will be hijacked by those with ulterior agendas, sectarian interests and nefarious intent.
Their general strategy they use a range of role players to promote their agenda and these include, but are not limited to certain : mainstream media; non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations; foreign and multinational companies; funding of opposition activities; infiltration and recruitment in key government departments; religious bodies, prominent influential persons; and punning of covert intelligence networks and covert action on our soil.
As a country, we should always be careful not to wittingly or unwittingly yield to those who exploit genuine concerns of our people to drive a wedge amongst the public and seize this moment to effect unconstitutional change of government.
Threats to the well-being and safety of South Africans
Transnational and Organised Crime
Transnational crime network on arms and ammunition, drug and human trafficking, stock theft, vehicle theft and money laundering have become one of the international security challenge we face.
Gangsterism and drugs abuse continue to ravage the most impoverished in our society. We must deal decisively with the prevalence of Gangsterism in our communities. Of concern is the targeting of schools and youth centres as recruitment grounds for gangs.
Linked to the issue of gangsterism is the escalation of drug manufacturing, smuggling, trafficking and consumption. Recent drug bust by the security services, in February 2017, included the confiscated of drugs worth R78 million in OR Tambo airport which was believed to be enroute from Sao Paulo to Nairobi.
We also note the continued use of illegal firearms, explosives and other ammunition in the commission of violent, syndicated and organised crime. This has been worsened by the targeting of military bases and police stations for weapons, the latest of which was the robbery at Khayelitsha last month.
As part of the response to these challenges, the Security Cluster has taken steps to improve coordination in implementing the approved Anti‑Gangsterism Strategy of government. We call on communities to join hands with government in fighting the scourge of gangsterism and drugs.
The security services will continue to conduct intelligence driven joint operations that will wage a serious war on drugs. We also note and welcome various major metropolitan cities who have implemented focused programmes aimed at ridding our streets of drug lords and cleaning up on drug dens.
Working with SAPS and other law enforcement agencies, we managed to run successful operations against organised crime syndicates
Threats to economic development
A significant amount of cash was detected leaving the South African borders to foreign jurisdictions and this is estimated at R80 billion per annual in Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
While the threat of IFFs were brought into sharp focus by the AU High-Level Panel in 2015, the information leak of the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016 illustrated the extent and impact of illicit flows at a global level and these revelations implicated some of the South African individuals and companies.
Over the years, it is clear that the South African economy has been affected negatively by decades of transfer pricing and other forms of illegal capital flight by multinational companies, especially those who operates in the extractive industries
In the period under review, the threat posed by the illicit mining of precious metals and related crimes continued to proliferate across the country and this manifested in the displacement of illicit activities to the previously unaffected provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal and the targeting of Chrome mines in Limpopo.
This was exacerbated by the weakening of the Rand which resulted in the sharp increase in gold prices in both legal and black markets thus increasing incentives for illegal miners
We cannot allow a situation of instability that is manufactured outside of our borders to manifest in this country, as we saw last year the killings that took place in disused mines west of Johannesburg.
We have also noted with concern, the increase in infrastructure crimes which affects the livelihood of our communities. Syndicated theft of amongst others copper affect the delivery of critical services and at times result in community protests.
Within this context, we have reaffirmed our focus on providing economic intelligence which supports government in dealing with threats in the illicit economy. We have also extended our focus to include exploration of economic opportunities to the benefit of our people.
In this regard, we look forward to working with the Treasury, SARS, DTI and the Financial Intelligence Centre in curbing this scourge/
We will continue to strengthen our capacity given our unique role and position within the global trade and financial environment. We will also consolidate and build further on the successes of the past with regards to combating illicit tobacco smuggling and identifying harmful trade practices
Corruption poses a serious and direct threat to our reconstruction and development initiatives, good governance, service delivery, and ultimately stability, particularly at local level. We will continue focusing on corruption within the public service and private sector.
The Anti-Corruption Task Team, which comprises of various law enforcement agencies, has posted encouraging results in the fight against corruption. For the period to end of March 2017, freezing orders to the value of R610.5 million were obtained resulting in an overachievement of 2%. For the same period, 87 successful prosecutions were obtained against government officials.
We are enhancing up the vetting process to improve the integrity particularly of those in the employ of government as well as those in state owned enterprises.
We are in the process of digitising the vetting process whilst finalising the intelligence regulations that will enable the conduct of vetting as a compulsory requirement. For us the integrity of government officials is paramount in the fight against corruption.
Chairperson, with regards to the threat to our wildlife, our assessment confirmed the escalation of wildlife crimes which has become the fourth lucrative transnational organised crime after drugs, firearms and human trafficking.
To this end, some SADC countries are used as key operational bases for poachers particularly for those operating in the Kruger National Park.
Targeting of rhino horn and smuggling remains a course for concern and the intensification of security operations at national parks diverted focus of criminal networks to private game parks.
Despite this, the security services in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs continue to disrupt the activities of poachers and their syndicates. Last month, the Department of Justice opened the Skukuza Regional Court to assist in combating rhino poaching related activities.
Arrests continue to be made on poachers with the latest of these being that of a syndicate using luxury vehicles to commit the crimes in North West province- popularly known as Bokone Bophirima.
Threats to the territorial integrity of the republic
Management of Migration and Securing South Africa's Borders
Illegal immigration has become a serious challenge for our country because of our vast borders such as land, air and maritime. Effective control and management of our South Africa's border security is critical
As a country we continue to experience the high entry of economic migrants into South Africa who claim to be asylum seekers.
As a result, they continue to saturate our urban and peri-urban centres, hence their intensification of moving into the rural parts of our country.
Despite all interventions, it is evident that South Africa remains the preferred destination of economic migrants in Southern Africa. The South African economy has over an extended period of time been supported by amongst others migrant workers. South Africans have peacefully coexisted with foreign nationals over the years.
The openness of South Africa to migrants have been acknowledged by the United Nations in declaring that South Africa has taken more than its fair share of migrants per capita.
As indicated before, competition for scarce resources and business opportunities continue to drive anti-foreigner sentiments. Accusations of foreign nationals' involvement in criminal activities have also been levelled.
Criminal acts, irrespective of who commits them should be dealt with decisively Communities need to be encouraged to seek dialogue in resolving conflicts with the émigré community instead of resorting to violence..
The preparations for the launch of the Border Management Authority (BMA) are at an advanced stage, with the BMA Bill before Parliament for consideration, under the stewardship of the Department of Home Affairs. It is envisaged that the BMA will go a long way in addressing the challenge of uncontrolled migration.
This coordination will enhance the work already being done by the JCPS Cluster in cross-border migration. We will also continue operational engagements with our neighbouring counterparts to improve regional security and stability.
Countering Terrorism, Radicalisation and Violent Extremism
The escalation of international terrorism as one of the major global security challenges, dominated by the threat of the Islamic State (IS), foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), and the growing trend of online radicalisation.
Furthermore, this period saw the escalation of the threats posed by lone-wolfs and self-radicalised individuals under the IS banner as witnessed in France, Germany and the USA wherein soft targets such as hotels, beach resorts, restaurants and even educational facilities got hit.
Of our serious concern is the sustained attempts by South Africans travelling to the conflict zones especially the youth being the most vulnerable group.
Although, South Africa is not a primary target for attack by international terror organisations no country is immune. However, South Africans cannot afford to be complacent given the extent of extremist ideology and propaganda being spread through the internet and social media.
Working with the collective of the law enforcement agencies, we continue to ensure the effective implementation of the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy as outlined in the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy Implementation Plan.
We will also raise with Parliament the legislative limitations that we have detected in terms of criminalising terrorism.
We will also continue the partnerships that we have established with a number of community and civil society structures which have come out in support and said "not in our name".
These are the unsung heroes and heroines of our country that have pledged to ensure, just like the NDP envisions, we create safer communities where women and children can walk free without any fear or want.
We have had and will continue to have extensive engagements with international partners in our quest to improve cooperation on these matters. As a member of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), we have contributed to the development of a strategy on countering terrorism in Africa.
International security cooperation
Honourable Chairperson and Members, the prosperity and advancement as a country is intrinsic and inextricable link to that of our region and continent. We have played significant role in supporting our government on matters of peace, security and national interest.
We will continue to play our part by providing dynamic, reliable and timeous intelligence to advance our national security and interests.
The security challenges in the various regions of our continent are an indication that there are new and unconventional threats that have necessitated more collaboration within various regions and other multilateral institutions through the AU to respond to the challenges.
We will continue supporting government's efforts in facilitating peace and stability in the region as characterised by the initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique, amongst others.
We remain seized with supporting the efforts of HE President Zuma in his capacity as Chair of the African Union Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Sudan, as he seek to get all the parties to recommit to the peaceful resolution of the South Sudan crisis.
The outbreak of violence in Juba after the signing of the power sharing deal that led to the formation for the transitional Government of National Unity was a major setback. We will continue to support the Presidential Special Envoy in its mission.
With regards to Libya, South Africa, through the participation of President Zuma on the African Union High Level Committee on Libya, will continue to support regional and continental processes to respond and resolve the crisis in Libya that has resulted in untold suffering in that country and in the perishing of migrants in the Mediterranean seas.
88. We will continue to support government's participation within the multilateral institutions of the United Nations. Equally, BRICS remains an important forum through which South Africa and major international players such as China, Russia India and Brazil collaborate to enhance global governance to ensure an equitable development and global peace and security.
Building Capacity to Respond
The process of improving the capacity of the intelligence structures remains an ongoing one in order to ensure that the SSA continues to have the capability to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities against the background of continuously evolving national security threats from within the domestic and global environments.
Improving our capacity also remains premised on our appreciation of the role of intelligence in securing the South African State, its sovereignty, its people, infrastructure and resources.
To this end, the SSA has developed a strategic perspective that is premised on the National Development Plan but extends it to the year 2035.
We believe that as the national risk management capacity of the state, the SSA should have a strategic vision on national security matters that goes beyond that of the NDP in order for it to provide early warning on potential threats and dangers which may confront our country and her people.
91. Lastly, capacity building also means that we have to ensure that we protect our institution from any unauthorised attempts to gain access to our systems, processes and information by our detractors who are intent on preventing us from developing a prosperous and secure nation.
We also value the contribution, guidance and counsel that is provided by the family of oversight structures; the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the Auditor General and the Inspector General of Intelligence.
These are institutions that our Constitution has established to hold us accountable, on behalf of the people of South Africa, for the actions and or inactions we take in the exercise of our work. We pledge our full cooperation in this regard.
I wish to thank HE President Zuma and the ANC for their continued support and guidance. Let me also thank the Deputy Minister, the Director General and his Top Management Team and Members of SSA and the leadership of the entire intelligence community.
The Ministry Staff and my family are also worthy of mention for their support with the task at hand.
We shall work with vigour to implement bold and decisive interventions toward socio-economic transformation in order to eradicate poverty, unemployment, reduce inequality and create sustainable livelihoods which constitute the main tasks of our second phase of the transition as espoused in the National Democratic Revolution by the people's movement- the ANC.
Leaders across the globe are having a unique opportunity to advance humanity by developing policies and strategies that promotes peace and prosperity.
We are obligated by human solidarity and love for peace, justice and equality to be tolerant, reject prejudice base on race, creed, gender, religion, sectarianism and cast. Freedom and equality is the cornerstone of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society we all yearn for.
We cannot succeed as nation when the majority of its citizens are held back by economic bondages. Majority of our people are still suffering from poverty, inequality and unemployment.
They too are human, let's work tireless in our diversity through a united action to embrace the strength within them and realize their full potential in the land of our birth.
Our responsibility is to unite and lead the nation, while accepting the baton of history. Our responsibility is to our people and expects better quality of life. They hope that their children and next generations can grow up better, have decent work and a better life for all.
The ANC has led our people in scoring accomplishment that capture our imagination and attention of the world. We have every reason to be proud. However we are proud but can't allow complacent to set in and will never rest on our laurels.
I humbly submit this budget vote for the Department of State Security for your consideration and approval.
God bless Africa, her sons and daughters.
Issued by: State Security Agency