South Africa: Goodbye SSA? Ramaphosa to Re-Establish National Security Council

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the annual State of the National Address, his second since the recall of former President Jacob Zuma in February last year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced some big changes awaiting the nation's security agencies during his 2019 State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Ramaphosa told a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament that he would re-establish and chair the National Security Council this coming year, and also re-establish two security arms: domestic and foreign intelligence.

"On the basis of the report and recommendations of the high-level review panel on the State Security Agency (SSA), which was chaired by former minister Sydney Mufamadi, I will soon be announcing a number of urgent steps to enable the reconstitution of a professional national intelligence capability for South Africa," Ramaphosa said.

"Among the steps we will take to reconstitute a professional national intelligence capability will be the re-establishment of the National Security Council chaired by the president in order to ensure better coordination of the intelligence and security related functions of the state as well as the re-establishment of two arms of our intelligence service one focusing on domestic and the other on foreign intelligence."

The move could be seen as a step towards reining in the SSA, which has been dogged by criticism for alleged involvement in factional and political battles.

Ramaphosa established the advisory panel in June to be chaired by Mufamadi.

Among the panel's terms of reference were to "identify all material factors that allowed for the development of some of the current challenges within the agency, so that appropriate measures can be instituted to prevent a recurrence".

In November, state security staffers were reminded that State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba had political responsibility for the SSA, and management and staff at the agency were expected to conduct themselves with the requisite "responsibility, respect and integrity".

Source: News24

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