South Africa: SSA - Reforms Under Way to Professionalise Intelligence, but Old Habits Die Hard

analysis

Thursday's State Security Budget vote hinted at a wide range of reforms to undo the politicisation of the intelligence services, including in ANC factional politicking. But no clue was given to how many rands and cents are available.

In a debate on the spooks and spies, it is perhaps no surprise those involved struggle a little with what should be mentioned. So, no rands and cents. For that, please go to Page 129 of the 898-page Estimates of National Expenditure, where a single line holds a glimpse: R4.656-billion against "secret services", with the Financial Intelligence Centre getting R294.3-million in the 2019/20 financial year.

But in a media briefing before her Thursday Budget vote debate, State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo was quite firm, saying there were financial pressures on the State Security Agency (SSA) where a long to-do list is pending. The budget was simply too small compared with what's available internationally, and against the challenges faced by South Africa.

Nevertheless, a skills audit is under way. A review to make vetting more effective and efficient would be finalised within three months, although more imminent could be action against heads of department who do not act against senior officials refusing to...

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