Inspector General of Intelligence appointment: Interviews

Joint Standing on Intelligence

08 November 2016
Chairperson: Mr C Nqakula (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Sub-Committee on Intelligence met for  interviews for the post of Inspector General of Intelligence.

The Committee interviewed the following five candidates:

  1. Professor. Bruce Watson
  2. Advocate Jayshree Govender
  3. Mr Petrus Mampogoane Nchabeleng
  4. Mr Smanga Jele
  5. Doctor Isaac Setlhomamaru Dintwe

Meeting report

The purpose of the meeting was to interview candidates for the position of Inspector General of Intelligence. The Chairperson warned that as the Committee went on with the interviews rules had to be observed, and the first rule was that mobile phones must be on silent.

Candidates would be specifically interrogated in terms of the law related to specific functions of the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI), and section 7 (6) of the relevant Act which read as follows: The IG shall be accountable to the Committee for the overall functions of the IGI office and shall report the performance of his/her functions to the Committee at least once a year.

The Committee interviewed the following candidates:

  1. Prof Bruce Watson was asked the following questions: (Time: 02:30 – 1:50:30)

The candidate was asked to introduce himself to the Committee and give a brief background of who he was.

The candidate was asked:

  • how he understood the accountability of the IGI to the Committee from the reading of the words from the act “accountable to the Committee for the overall functions of the IGI office”. Did the IGI only report on the administrative functions of the office and report to the Committee in terms of his/her legislative functions as prescribed in section 7 (6) of the act which dealt with the functions of the IGI?
  • since he was highly qualified in cyber security, what were the overall functions of the IGI in this regard. How did he see his role in monitoring, and what was his understanding of the review versus the monitoring which were stated in section 7 (b) of the act?
  •  to give examples of such potential issues that may arise in the context of the work of the IGI which he noted in his first response.
  •  to clarify the activities that need to be reviewed and at which service within the intelligence they could be reviewed.
  • if the departments and the relevant ministers were bound by the reports submitted to them since the candidate regarded them as merely feedback. What the legal standing was for such reports, because one needed to know the impact of these reports.
  • to explain in terms of section 7. 7 (d) of the act, which dealt with certificates that had to be submitted to the Minister, what his understanding was of the meaning and usefulness of the certificates, what the purpose was and function of the certificates, and which of the different services would address the issues raised in the certificates.
  • whether he was subjected to any kind of bad behaviour or convicted of a criminal offence.
  • with regard to his motivational letter, what his status of citizenship was, did he have dual citizenship, and how many passports he possessed, because Canada was one of the countries that was mentioned in his CV.
  • in terms of section 7.7 (f) of the act which possible functions did the legislation empower the President to designate to the IGI, and his understanding that the report must be referred to the Committee after presenting that report to the President.
  • in terms of section 7.7 (c) (a) of the act which gave powers to the IGI to investigate matters, what his understanding was of these powers of the IGI in terms of this section.
  • what he thought the Committee should do with regard to his multi-national passports, objectively from a security risk factor, what it was that the Committee should consider in light of the fact that he would be working in a top-secret environment as an IGI.
  •  to comment on the emigration of his parents from South Africa to Rhodesia and from Rhodesia to Canada.
  • to explain his management skills, experience in terms of human resources, conflict resolution, corporate governance, etc.
  • to explain the periods from 1998 to 2011 where he was working at the University of Pretoria, and at the very same time from 1996 to 2000 he was in Canada because it seemed he was in two countries at the very same period.
  •  how he was going to manage the challenges of the office of the IGI. What was his assessment of the South African intelligence family and were there any areas of improvement, and what areas those were?
  •  if he had been in the intelligence community before and what interested him to apply for the position of the IGI.
  •  
  • if there were anything that he had omitted in his motivational letter and would like to inform the Committee about.
  • what he would regard as a conspiracy theory. What his understanding was of the South African intelligence in terms of safety. Had he ever been involved in a collapsed project?
  • what appraisal system he would use in his department in terms of mismanagement, ethics and morals, and how he will inculcate these problems into his subordinates

    Adv. Jayshree Govender (Time: 1:50:40 – 3:21:50)

The candidate was asked to introduce herself and briefly give the Committee her background.

The candidate was asked:

  • to explain the functions of the IGI in terms of section 7 (6) of the act.
  • Given that the candidate was currently working in the office of the IGI, if she acknowledged the challenges that exist at that office.
  •  to explain her management skills, experience in terms of human resources, conflict resolution, corporate governance, etc.
  •  what the difference was between monitoring compliance and the review of intelligence services in terms of section 7 (a) of the relevant act.
  • what she comprehended as national interests of South Africa in terms of the office of the IGI.
  •  to explain if she was head hunted for the job of a prosecutor because in her CV there were no specific contracts in her jobs and did not spend much time in her jobs.
  • Since she was acting in the role of the IG and in the absence of the IG, to explain her execution of all tasks in the IGI office, how she accounted for the activities of the IGI.
  • what she would do if on the eve of local government elections, the head of the National Director of Public Prosecutions was summoned to the headquarters of the ruling party if appointed as an IGI, would she be prepared to take a wrong political direction and what would that do to the functionality of the office of the IGI.
  • what her understanding was of the functions of the IGI.
  • When she assumed was the role of the IG, where she derived that empowerment, was there any act or law that gave her those powers. Was there any decision she had taken and regretted taking such decision?
  • what the key requisites were to become the IG.
  • How would she go about taking the responsibilities of the IG and delegate those functions to another person? Were there any records of those delegated functions at the office of the IG?
  • What was the role of the IG in terms of understanding the national interests and public interests?
  • Since she had exposure of working in the IGI office, what experience was she bringing, what challenges she encountered at the IGI office, and how she had dealt with those challenges.
  •  who constituted the members that sat at Executive Committee (EXCO) which she referred to, and what decisions did EXCO take in the absence of the IG.

The candidate was requested to supply the Committee with all the copies of minutes of meetings of EXCO and decisions taken by EXCO in the absence of the IG.

Mr Petrus Nchabeleng (Time: 00:25 – 1:29:19)

The candidate was asked to briefly tell the Committee about himself.

He was asked:

  • what his understanding was of the review of the activities of the intelligence services.
  • with regard to the letter that he had attached in his CV as a reference from the MEC of Treasury in the Limpopo Province, whether such reference could not be seen as political influence, what the motive was for using the MEC as his reference.
  • if he was within the ten components at the office of the IGI.
  • what the procedure was for delegated functions in the absence of the IG, and who was given the power to ensure that day to day tasks were carried through at the office of the IGI in the absence of the IG.
  •  would he delegate his legal advisor in the absence of the IG, would EXCO be wrong to appoint a legal advisor as an acting IG, and was there any legislation giving him powers to appoint himself in the absence of the IG.
  • in terms the annual report which was presented last week, whether was there any turnaround strategy in this regard because the annual report was not impressive.
  • what strategy he was going to use since they had identified weaknesses in the office of the IGI in the absence of the IG.
  • how many times he had acted as an IG in the absence of the IG, because from the MEC letter it was stated that he had acted so many times as an IG or the MEC knew how many times he had acted, did he and the MEC sit together and compose the letter?
  • who called and chaired the meetings of EXCO and who was tasked with keeping the resolutions of EXCO. Were EXCO meetings issue driven, and if one called a meeting he/she also chaired the meeting?
  • if he ever experienced any adverse findings upon himself when he worked at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
  • in terms of oversight role, how would he turnaround the situation, because people complained that the intelligence services were not good enough, they failed to issue early warnings to government, would he confirm that the state of readiness in the intelligence services was in a good state?
  • how he would apply his technical skills if appointed as an IG and must cite the legislation framework that empowered him to do so.
  • what he would do if a CEO of a state security company called him to say he/she had been given a directive from the Minister of State Security to take R40m.
  • if he had been part of EXCO meeting where he made a permanent appointment of staff in the absence of the IG.

    Mr Smanga Jele (Time: 01:30 – 1:16:20)

The candidate was asked to briefly tell the Committee about himself.

He was asked:  

  • what his understanding was of the functions that might be delegated to him by the relevant Minister or the President if appointed as IG.
  • why it was necessary to use two senior ANC members as his references in his CV.
  • what the purpose was of the recommendations that were made in the report of the IG.
  • his understanding of the impartiality and independence of the IG.
  • whether as an IG he reported to the Minister or to the President.
  • if the relevant departments were bound by the recommendations of the IG.
  • whether section 7(a) entitled the IGI to access any information in order to execute his/her functions.
  • what the procedure was for delegated functions in the absence of the IG, and who was given the power to ensure that day to day tasks were carried through at the office of the IGI in the absence of the IG.
  •  if he would delegate his legal advisor in the absence of the IG, would EXCO be wrong to appoint a legal advisor as an acting IG, and was there any legislation giving him powers to appoint himself in the absence of the IG.
  • what exactly his position was in the office of the IGI, was he a general manager or an oversight principal officer.
  • what his understanding was of the powers of the IG.
  • what prompted him to apply to and affiliate in the International Association of Inspector General.
  • whether the training he received was to prepare him to become the IG.
  • what the activities were of the Association of the Inspector General of Intelligence, who attended the meetings of the Association on behalf of South Africa, and where the head office was of the Association and was he eligible to vote in the Associations. Was he the only person who got the training on investigation?
  • how many times he acted as an IG.
  • if he had been part of an EXCO meeting where he made a permanent appointment of staff in the absence of the IG.

    Dr Isaac Dintwe (Time: 1:16:40 – 2:14:23)

The candidate was asked to briefly tell the Committee about himself.

The candidate was asked:

  • what the relationship was between the Committee and the office of the IGI.
  • to explain his background in the South African Police Services (SAPS).
  •  how he rated the work and cooperation between the intelligence services and other security agencies like SAPS.
  • what expertise he was bringing to the office of the IGI since he appeared to be the student of IT and cyber-crime.
  • to explain his management experience because in his CV it stated that he was a project leader who was responsible for a budget of R25bn, does he think he has the management qualifications.
  • what his understanding was of the certificates that have to be submitted to the Minister in terms of the act.
  • as an IG if he was duty bound to give a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.
  • to explain his conflict resolution and managerial skills and how he will use them to benefit the office of the IGI.
  •  what he did after completing his studies in 1998.
  • what he thought would be an ideal IG.
  • how he would handle violent demonstrations if appointed as an IG.

The Chairperson thanked all the candidates for availing themselves for interviews. He also thanked the Members of the Committee, the Members of the media and all present in the interviews.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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