State Security: Minister's Budget Speech


30 Jun 2009


Address by Dr Siyabonga Cwele, MP Minister of State Security
State Security Budget Vote
Parliament, Cape Town
1 July 2009

Working together for a secure South Africa

Honourable Members
Distinguished Guests
Intelligence Veterans
Ladies and Gentlemen
Fellow South Africans


It is a great privilege for me to stand before the House today to present the contribution of the intelligence services to government’s programme of working together to do more to build a better life for all, as encapsulated in the President’s State of the Nation Address.

As it is said, forewarned is forearmed. Therefore our ability to attain the better life we seek, the basis of which ‘reflects our resolve to live as equals…in peace and harmony, free from want and fear’, is in no small measure dependent on whether our decision-makers are provided with the requisite foreknowledge to enable them to discharge their obligations to our people, without any major disruption.

It is the provision of this foreknowledge that lies at the heart of the mandate of our intelligence services, which is demonstrated by our name change to the Ministry of State Security that better reflects what we do. For there cannot be development without security; there cannot be security without development; and there can be neither without a strong interventionist developmental state to deliver these twin imperatives.

As such, our intelligence services must be at the very centre of identifying threats to our constitutional order and ensuring the successful implementation of government’s programme. Accordingly, our priorities over the next five years will be directed to a range of initiatives, which are intended to strengthen our ability to meet the tasks at hand. In so doing, we shall build on the solid foundation laid by the late Ministers Dullah Omar and Joe Nhlanhla that was given further expression by our former Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Ronnie Kasrils.

Learning from history

Chairperson, honourable members

The need for intelligence to be at the centre of government can be traced back to clans, kingdoms and nations since the dawning of time.

This is illustrated in the writings of ancient commentators, such as those of the 11th Century Nizam al-Mulk[1]. In detailing the rules governing statecraft, he maintains that: “It is indispensable for a sovereign to obtain information…on all which happens...Sending out…spies shows that…his state will flourish…” These spies “…must…bring back reports…so that no matters…remain concealed…In the past…if any…army was preparing to attack…, the spies informed the king and he…repelled them…” Spying “…is delicate business…it must be entrusted to the…tongues…of [those]…without self-interest, for the weal or woe of the country depends on them…when they can be relied upon…there is no anxiety”.

The revered leaders of our African kingdoms also relied upon those ‘without self-interest’ to defend their territory, against forces who sought to steal their land, plunder their resources and enslave their peoples. Given that this year marks the 130th Anniversary of the 1879 Battle of Isandhlwana, let us therefore pay tribute to the inzinhloli of Inkosi uCetshwayo, whose reports on the movements of the British were decisive in securing this historic victory.

uCetshwayo passed the baton on to those that followed, as evidenced by Inkosi uBhambatha’s renowned Chakijana, who lived up to his namesake as the crafty mongoose which was “…famous for its smartness, on the alert, ready to bite first[2]. Chakijana used his much sought after skills gained as a scout in the South African War to serve as uBhambatha’s most formidable lieutenant in the Impi Yamakhanda of 1906.

Threats of the contemporary world

Just as our intelligence services were at the centre of giving expression to our people’s long-held aspirations of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, which ‘belongs to all who live in it, both black and white’; we have and must be at the centre of ensuring our continued ‘peace, security and comfort’.

This is particularly necessary given the threats we face today. They originate both in the domestic and foreign arena; they stem from state and non-state actors; and they are interconnected, wide-ranging and know no borders.

These threats encompass poverty, underdevelopment; environmental degradation, food insecurity and increased competition for scarce natural resources; pandemics and disease; and human and natural disasters. They include intra and inter-state conflict; terrorism; nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation; espionage; subversion; sabotage; transnational syndicated crime and corruption; smuggling and human trafficking; critical infrastructure and systems failure.

These threats, if realised, pose a danger to the survival of our constitutional order; the integrity of our state; the growth of our economy; and the well-being and livelihoods of our people. Most of all they have the potential to derail the government’s programme of action as informed by the 10 priority areas identified by the President in his State of the Nation Address.

We therefore cannot tire in our effort to provide security to our people. Now more than ever, we need to give early warning of these threats. We need to be able to predict and understand them; identify their source and precise nature; the likelihood of their occurrence; the forms they may take; and their potential impact. We need to put in place comprehensive contingency measures to prevent and combat them; and where this is not possible to ensure that we are in a position to mitigate and manage their consequences. In this way South Africa will be ever-ready not only to deal with the expected, but we will also be sufficiently prepared to tackle the unexpected!

Over the years our intelligence services have covered much ground towards this goal. The stability that we enjoy as a country, despite the dangerous world that we inhabit, is clear testimony to this. Whilst most of the details of what we do must of necessity remain outside of the public domain, we have made a number of significant breakthroughs, ensuring that our people rest easier, safe in the knowledge that our democracy is protected. We need only mention the success of our recent elections to demonstrate this.

These achievements, however, do not belong to our intelligence services alone. They have been secured in co-operation with our partners across government, in the private sector, civil society and the international arena. In moving forward, we therefore intend to take the President’s call to action for continuity and collective responsibility to heart and will indeed work together to build a secure and safer nation.

Working together to do more

Whilst there is no major or immediate threat to our country, there are some areas of risk and vulnerability that we will focus on, which constitute our key priorities over the coming period:

Develop a common approach to deal with the threats to national security

Our approach to national security since 1994 has largely been determined by the requirements associated with our democratic transition. However, South Africa and the world have since changed. We therefore need to re-evaluate our strategic interests and what might threaten them. As part of this process, we need to ensure that we are better organised and have the requisite capacity to respond with speed and precision to major threats.

In the next five years, we will
prioritise the finalisation of the National Security Strategy to guide our common approach in upholding national security. This will also spell out a management system that will ensure that all the capabilities of our government and nation are effectively harnessed and coordinated to better deal with threats confronting us.

Secure the integrity of the state’s information and its processes

The forging of identity and other official government documents; the penetration of our Information Communications Technology (ICT) systems to perpetrate fraud; the break-ins in a number of strategic state entities; the selected and distorted leakage of state information to destablise and sow division; all negatively impact on the state’s ability to function and to deliver much needed services to our people. We must ensure that all sensitive state information is properly managed, controlled and protected from theft, manipulation, cyber-attack and unauthorised disclosure; be it from corrupt officials; criminal syndicates; foreign adversaries or information peddlers.

We will devote more resources to secure the integrity of the state’s information, its processes, its employees and its critical infrastructure: In so doing, we will resubmit the draft Protection of Information Bill to Parliament. The bill will guide the process of classification and declassification of state information and
criminalise the activities of those engaged in espionage and information-peddling.

We will continue to secure the full implementation of all elements of our Vetting Strategy, which contributes to enabling government to expose and root out criminals from the public service. In particular, we will ensure that all those seeking employment are subject to appropriate screening prior to entry. We will expand Vetting Field-Units in prioritised state institutions to broaden our reach.

We have embarked upon a project to develop an early warning system to monitor and identify risks our critical national infrastructure, which is essential to the well-being of the nation. Whilst much attention is being given to large scale state enterprises, this project will eventually be extended to all critical national infrastructure, whether in state or private hands.

Secure our borders and ports of entry


Deficiencies in the control and security of our borders have been identified as a challenge for some time now. These emanate mainly from lack integration by departments at our ports of entry. They are facilitated by corrupt officials; they are exploited by transnational crime and people smuggling syndicates.

Notwithstanding the improvements made by interdepartmental initiatives led by the Border Control Coordination Committee (BCOCC), our efforts still lack sufficient synergy. We must be in a position to maintain our territorial integrity, expedite the legitimate movement of people and goods, whilst deterring and identifying illegal or hostile cross-border movement.

The government security cluster has charge us with the responsibility of coordinating the process towards the development of a framework for the establishment of the New Border Management Agency announced by the President, which must be completed by the end of 2009.

Intensify the fight against organised crime

Honorable Members

Crime remains a source of concern, despite the important advances that have been made. It destroys lives, property and infrastructure. It affect us all, more especially the poor and the most vulnerable. While police are leading the charge, we must contribute in tracking the phenomenon behind organised crime and terrorism. Working together we will ensure that syndicates have no place to hide.

Secure special events

Our country has become a preferred host of major events, be they regional, continental or global. Over the past three years, we have been at the forefront of securing more than 300 special events. Recent successes include of the Indian Premier League, April National Elections and the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The expertise we have developed is not only relied upon at home but is sought after in countries world over. As such, we will continue to make our country safe and an attractive venue of choice. In particular, our priority will be on assisting our nation in its quest to successfully host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We will continue to interact with our foreign counterparts in our effort to provide maximum security to this mammoth event.

Contribute to peace and stability in the South African Development Community (SADC), Africa and the wider-world

Honourable Members

South Africa’s national security is inextricably linked to peace and stability in our region, on our continent and in the wider-world. We note with pride the advances made through the ongoing role that we play in bolstering government’s facilitation, conflict resolution, peace-making and post-conflict initiatives.

Our achievements in this regard bring to the fore the importance of cooperating with foreign intelligence services (FIS) which we must continue to build, for as visionary Kwame Nkrumah reminds us “…independence means interdependence, for such is the technological and scientific advance in this age the world appears to be smaller than its…size. What happens in one country may have repercussions – both favourable and otherwise in another country”[3].

In this regard, we will strengthen our partnerships with the intelligence and security services of Southern Africa and operationalise the Regional Early Warning System in order to enhance our capacity to predict threats to our region. We will continue to support the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) so that it can provide intelligence that will enable the African Union to compete and protect our collective interests.

Bolster our capacity and professionalism


In the next five years we also focus in improving the quality of intelligence products by increasing our capacity and building a professional civilian intelligence service.

In so doing, we will prioritise the development of our human resources, who constitute our most valued asset. We will open up our recruitment processes, injecting new blood into our workforce. We will tap into the best of South Africa’s brains, ensuring that their expertise is used to reinforce our knowledge-base in strategic fields.

We will intensify our efforts to create a work environment that prizes excellence, where both our serving members and new recruits are encouraged to flourish. We will emphasise a standardised and integrated approach to training, ensuring that our programmes provide added-value. We will evaluate our regulations on conditions of service, ensuring that the consultation mechanism between management and staff is strengthened so that more equitable and sound employment relations are promoted. We will also invest in cutting edge research and development, so that officers have the right instruments to remain a step ahead of our adversaries.

And we will unfailingly ensure that the powers and public funds entrusted to us are used responsibly. W
e will resubmit the draft Intelligence Amendment Bills to Parliament to address any gaps, placing us on an even stronger legislative footing. We will strengthen our co-operation with the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI); the Inspector-General for Intelligence; the Auditor-General; and the designated Judge for interception directions, who collectively operate on behalf of our people to secure our accountability, legality and ethical conduct.

Our mission to ensure we provide value for money, however, may prove impossible with the current way we are structured, where there is a proliferation of structures, which not only makes co-ordination a constant challenge, but also contributes to a lack of sufficient focus. We will therefore embark on a review process with the aim of developing an effective and efficient intelligence architecture, which will be undertaken without any disruptions.

In appreciation

Our programme, as encapsulated in the priorities we have identified, represents our intention to build on what has already been achieved. I would therefore like to thank those who not only brought us this far, but who will ensure that we continue to work together to do more to secure South Africa.

I express my gratitude to the departmental heads, Manala Manzini: NIA; Tim Dennis: SASS; Silumko Sokupa: NICOC; Mike Sarjoo: SANAI; Miriam Sekati: ISC; Loyiso Jafta: NCC; Brian Koopedi: OIC; Joe Kotane: COMSEC and all their management teams and members. I acknowledge the Chairperson of the JSCI, Cecil Burgess; the Inspector General, Zolile Ngcakani; the Auditor General, Terence Nombembe; Judge Swart; and the chair of the Staff Council, Xolile Mashukuca. Thanks to the head of my Ministry, Khaukanani Mavhungu and his staff, who provide me with the support I require.

In closing, I leave you with the wise words of Joe Nhlanhla to whom I dedicate my speech, which underscore what we intend to do: “Now more than ever, we must demand more from ourselves and build with pride a culture within the intelligence services that holds high the…goals of incorruptibility, credibility, integrity and maximum effectiveness. We must accept nothing less”[4]. Much like the Chakijana’s of centuries past, his determined spirit continues to shape our advances. We therefore will not fail him, as our President, our government, our people and future generations are owed no less!

I request the House to adopt the Vote for the intelligence services.

I thank you.


[1] Nizam al-Mulk, 11th Century, The Book of Government and Rules for Kings, Translated from Persian by Hubert Darke, Curzon Press, Surrey, 2002

[2] Benedict Carlton, Blood from your children: Origins of generational conflict in South Africa, University of KwaZulu Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 2000

[3] Kwame Nkrumah, I speak of Freedom, William Heinemann Ltd, London, 1961


[4] Joe Nhlanhla, Deputy Minister for Intelligence Services, Address to the National Crime Intelligence Conference, Durban, 12 July 1995


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