21 February 2019

South Africa: Cleaning Out the Augean Stables of State Security

opinion

President Cyril Ramaphosa appears to have been taking significant though cautious steps to address what is clearly a national crisis. Can he clean up the stinking rot in the Augean stables of state security and intelligence? This can be no easy task and he needs all the will and support he can muster.

The rot in the state security and intelligence sector is no secret. It has been manifest from before the Zuma era, but particularly since. As with other sectors of the state, but perhaps even more so, politicisation, corruption and demoralisation have been rife.

The appointment of inept security ministers by President Zuma was shocking; the resignation in disgust of senior staff sensational; the abuse of power and resources disastrous, the centralisation of power for manipulation and access to funds scandalous.

There has been no unqualified, clean audit of the books since inception - with investigations into the misuse of funds getting nowhere. The auditor general (AG) has no oversight into secret operational funds which become slush funds for corrupt practices and illegal operations. For all the cry of foreign agents being behind so many of the country's troubles, there has never been a case of espionage uncovered....

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