Ramaphosa must ‘overhaul state security set up or face worse risks’

Date: 29 Jul 2021

 President Cyril Ramaphosa must overhaul the state security setup or risk a fallout worse than the recent failed “insurrection”.

Various organisations, experts and political leaders have questioned Ramaphosa’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Mufamadi high level panel which probed shenanigans at the State Security Agency (SSA). The SSA is currently headed by Gab Msimanga.

The panel, chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi, found that under former President Jacob Zuma, the SSA was turned into political tool to fight his factional battles within the ANC.

A special “rogue unit” was established and dedicated to taking care of his personal needs.

In the process of repurposing the agency, state funds were systematically siphoned after it became a cash cow for certain individuals. Mufamadi recommended the intelligence agency be replaced by a professional intelligence body.


Evidence of this was also laid bare at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture this year by Mufamadi himself, SSA former deputy director-general Loyiso Jafta and some agency operatives.


Experts suggested Ramaphosa must appoint a nonpartisan individual to head the SSA, who will run it professionally and restore its lost dignity.

Security affairs expert, Dr Jakkie Cilliers said: “The first priority is to appoint a SSA leadership whose integrity can be
trusted.” 
 
This was echoed by Prof Andre Duvenhage, who said nothing stopped Ramaphosa from choosing an SSA leader of his choice.


Cilliers was concerned that intelligence was not subject to normal oversight by the auditor-general like other government departments.


“It is most important they get control over where the money goes. At the moment nobody knows how SSA money is used.”


This view was shared by Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen, who emphasised the need for rigorous oversight


“The intelligence minister must account to parliament. The opposition needs to see audited financial statements and budgets, as well as intelligence reports,” he said
 
By Eric Naki -  Political Editor

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