15 March 2019

South Africa: Intimidation, Interception and Break-Ins - SA Security Forces and the Threat of Accountability


Just as in the old South Africa, a murky world of secret operatives still does the bidding of its political masters who want to maintain their grip on power.

The report by the high-level review panel into the State Security Agency has revealed that South Africa's intelligence services were employed to promote the personal and political interests of former president Jacob Zuma and his associates.

Using the intelligence services to protect your political interests is nothing new to our history. During BJ Vorster's rule as apartheid prime minister, it was the Bureau for State Security that backed him up. For his successor, PW Botha, it was military intelligence.

But, apart from spies working at the behest of powerful politicians, there's another chilling similarity between the new and old regimes -- one that enjoys far less attention in the press, yet is an open secret among activists: The use of intelligence agencies to undermine and intimidate citizens trying to hold government accountable for basic service delivery.

Springs, 1961-1974

The newly built Springs civic centre was, arguably, a work of art. In the mid-70s, the Springs Advertiser recorded its creation: The building site spanned 7.5ha.

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