South Africa: Implement SSA Report Recommendations, R2K Tells Ramaphosa

Left: Screenshot from the High-Level Review Panel on the SSA report released by the Presidency. Right: President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Right2Know (R2K) campaign has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement the recommendations of the explosive report into the State Security Agency (SSA).

The high-level review panel report revealed gross abuses of power to fight factional battles during the time of former president Jacob Zuma.

R2K - which has been one of the foremost opponents of the so-called "Secrecy Bill" - said the time was ripe for Ramaphosa to finally act.

"More specifically and immediately, to implement the panel's recommendation that the Secrecy Bill be scrapped and that the president instructs the appropriate law enforcement bodies, oversight institutions and internal disciplinary bodies to investigate all manifest breaches of the law, regulations and other prescripts in the SSA... with a view to instituting, where appropriate, criminal and/or disciplinary prosecutions.

"In particular... the establishment of a multi-disciplinary investigation team to deal with the criminal investigations and that a private advocate is appointed to conduct the internal disciplinary hearings," R2K communicator Busi Mtabane said in a statement on Monday.

This comes after the panel, led by Dr Sydney Mufumadi, found that Zuma and ministers he appointed, including Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo, as well as senior staff at the SSA, violated the Constitution by overseeing and allowing the repurposing of the spy agency to serve their own personal and political interests - a process that started in 2005.

This includes spying on media, activists and non-governmental organisations, such as R2K.

"Indeed, the report confirms the suspicions that we have had for a long time, that the State Security Agency has targeted the Right2Know [campaign] specifically.

"We firmly believe that these rogue securocrats are a threat to our democracy and they must be dealt with accordingly. As such, we demand that those who engaged in these criminal activities and gross abuses are named, investigated and disciplined and/or prosecuted where appropriate," Mtabane added.

On Monday, Minister of State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba assured South Africans on 702's breakfast show that those who are implicated will be held accountable.

"As the report says, everybody who was involved in wrongdoing must be accountable. We are going to bring all the documents in the report and hand it over to the law enforcement agencies.

"I assure you that no one is going to get away with this," Duba said.

The report, which was handed to Ramaphosa in December and released on Sunday, recommends the following:

- a forensic investigation into the finances of the SSA to make a full determination of abuse of secret funds to establish a basis for disciplinary charges and/or criminal prosecution;

- changes to financial controls, including giving wider access to finances to the Auditor-General and chief financial officers and alternative methods of payment to cut down on cash uses;

- sweeping legislative reforms to seek a clearer mandate for envisaged return to two separate agencies focused on foreign and domestic intelligence and stricter controls on governance of agencies;

- the legislative changes should include the decentralisation of decision-making powers held by the director general and minister, and suggests a change in the appointment processes of spy bosses;

-disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution for Zuma, ministers, SSA bosses and staff who willfully violated laws in issuing and executing illegal orders;

- giving the Inspector General (IG) of Intelligence independence, to enable the office of the IG to conduct its work without interference; and

- the establishment of a task team and restructuring team to deal with proposed restructuring into two agencies and an extensive review of current legislation, with an eye on implementation.

Source: News24

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