Election of a Chairperson; General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill: deliberations

Intelligence Legislation

11 September 2003
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Meeting report

INTELLIGENCE LEGISLATION AD HOC COMMITTEE

INTELLIGENCE LEGISLATION AD HOC COMMITTEE
12 September 2003
ELECTION OF A CHAIRPERSON AND DELIBERATIONS ON THE GENERAL INTELLIGENCE LAWS AMENDMENT BILL


Chairperson: Dr S Cwele (ANC)

Relevant documents
General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill [B47-2003]

SUMMARY
The Committee elected Dr S Cwele (ANC) as the Chairperson and began a series of deliberations on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill.

MINUTES
Ms S Van der Merwe nominated Dr Cwele as Chairperson which, as there were no other nominations, was unanimously accepted. The meeting consisted of an introductory briefing to the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill presented by Mr Dalidyebo, followed by preliminary deliberations. The Amendment Bill related to four Acts: the National Strategic Intelligence Act of 1994, the Intelligence Services Oversight Act of 1994, the Intelligence Services Act of 2002, and the Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd. Act of 2002. The goal of the amendments was to eliminate inconsistencies; empower the Minister to establish a panel of appeal; define certain expressions and to regulate the oversight of the Officer for Interception Centres; effect certain technical corrections; extend the functions of the Intelligence Services Council, and extend the composition of the Board.

Discussion
Mr Dalidyebo introduced the Amendment Bill and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to amend certain Acts in order to eliminate inconsistencies and effect consequential amendments of the Bill. He then read the Bill out clause by clause so that the members could familiarise themselves and share comments.
The Chairperson proposed that, since the Bill included many technical and new amendments, that members ask clarity questions.

Section 7
Ms Van der Merwe asked for clarity of on the last paragraph in clause 7(c). It should be reflected in the latter part of the Bill that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Communication were consulted.

Mr Hoon (State Law Adviser) said that it will be reconsidered and clarified.

Mr P Nefolovhodwe asked why the board should be increased from 9 to 12 members.

Mr Dalidyebo said the intention was to have more non-executive directors on the board to facilitate intelligence oversight and political guidance.

Mr Nefolovhodwe said that corporate governance did not become easier or more efficient merely by increasing the number of boardmembers.

The Chairperson decided to flag it.

Section 2
Mr P Schalkwyk (DA) asked about the change in subclause 2(a). The last year's suggestion was in clause 3 (a), a new section 2(a) was amended. The DA was concerned that the requirements in 2(a) 1(a) stipulated that any person employed by (or an applicant to) an organ of state, needed to be security cleared. That was impractical and impossible to enforce. It would make more sense if the "or" was replaced with "and" between subsections (a) and (b).

The Chairperson asked the Advisers to discuss and improve the formulation for the next meeting.

Section 12
The Chairperson asked if the purpose of the section 12(e) was purely to minimise court cases.

Mr Dalidyebo said that if there was no such mechanism within the establishment as prescribed to the Minister in subclause 12(e), the members would tend to go outside and thus compromise information from inside. The appropriate information needed to be disclosed.

Section 13
The Chairperson asked the State Law Advisers if they could reformulate section 13 in such a way as to replace cross-reference numbers simply with text. That would make for easier reading of the Bill.

Mr Hoon agreed to extract specific portions of that section.

Repeal of schedule 1 to Act 68 of 2002
Mr Hoon explained that the reason for consequential amendments was that there were changes made to some of the Acts in both the Intelligence Services Bill and the Electronic Communications Bill. They were not respectively taken under consideration and this created inconsistency. The two Bills were not harmonised. The same Acts were amended in different ways, negating or reverting amendments from the other Bill. The Committee needed to repeal the schedule to the Electronic Communications Bill with retrospective effect and amended those Acts again, taking into consideration the Intelligence Services Bill schedule. He referred to Clauses 22 and 23 of the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill.

Mr Nefolovhodwe suggested cross-referencing the two Bill to harmonise the Acts.

The Chairperson advised caution when using cross-reference and warned about possibility of creating additional problems.

The meeting was adjourned.

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