11 July 2022 - NW345
McGluwa, Mr JJ to ask the Minister in the Presidency
(1)What legislative steps and measures have been put in place currently in accordance with section 209(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, to ensure that (a) the (i) functions, (ii) operations, (iii) resources and (iv) means of the Security Cluster are not abused and (b) all and/or any of its activities are measurable and accountable to its objectives as stated above; (2) what means, procedures and/or controls have been put in place to pro-actively and pre-emptively detect and address any abuse of positions and resources?
Section 209 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that “ any intelligence service, other than any intelligence division of the defence force or police, may be established only by the President, as head of the national executive, and only in terms of national legislation”. In 2013, the President, as head of the National Executive and through a National legislation promulgated the General Intelligence laws Amendment Act no 11 of 2013, establishing the State Security Agency (SSA) as an intelligence service. This Act referred to above contained provisions relating to functions, operations and resources of the new intelligence service known as the State Security Agency (SSA). This Act also amended and aligned other relevant Intelligence laws that deal with functions, operations, resources, controls and other relevant issues of intelligence mandate on intelligence. The laws that were amended and aligned to the new legislative mandate of the SSA were, amongst others, the National Strategic Intelligence Act no 39 of 1994, Intelligence Services Oversight Act no 40 of 1994, the Secret Services Act no 56 of 1978, The Secret Services Special Account Act 81 of 1969 and the Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd Act no 68 of 2002. The General Intelligence Laws Amendment Act referred to above further disestablished the Intelligence Services and structures that existed at the time and integrated them into the new intelligence service. The Intelligence Services and structures referred to were the following:
• The South African Secret Service
• The National Intelligence Agency
• The South African National Academy of Intelligence
• The Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd.
The SSA) adheres to existing legislation and in addition, it recently adopted the following measures to ensure that its resources are not abused and that its work is measurable:
• At the beginning of every financial year, the SSA prepares a strategic and operational plan that sets out activities of the SSA including financial, human and technical resources to be utilised as well as reporting measures.
• The SSA established an Audit and Risk Committee consisting and chaired by external professionals to continuously monitor the implementation of the strategic and operational plans, including the utilisation of the budget. This process also establishes close cooperation with the Auditor-General in relation to the auditing of activities of the SSA.
• The SSA has recently reviewed its delegation of authority, commonly referred to as the Ministerial Policy and Payment directive. This directive has decentralised authority to various management members and provides limitations on operational and financial approvals. This enables the Director-General to exercise appropriate control and take appropriate actions where there is abuse of authority at any level of the delegated authority.
• The SSA, in consultation with the Audit and Risk Committee as well as the AG, has finalised the Operational Assets and Expenditure Directive. This directive enables the review and monitoring of operational expenses and the proper management of operational assets. This directive also requires the DG SSA to consult DG Treasury on the utilisation and access to the Security Services Special Account established by law.
The SSA is also legally obliged to comply with the Public Finance Management Act no 1 of 1999 and, in particular, Section 40 (a) of the Public Finance Management Act of 1999 (PFMA) that requires that the Accounting Officer of the department keep full and proper records of the financial affairs of the department in accordance with prescribed norms and standards. This is done.
• The SSA also presents its operational reports to the Inspector-General and the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence in line with the requirements of the applicable laws.
- Section 40 (b) of PFMA states that the department must prepare financial statements for each financial year in accordance with generally recognised accounting practices (GRAP). The SSA prepares GRAP compliant Annual Financial Statements; these are included in the Annual Report as required by Section 40 (d) of the PFMA, and the Annual Report is presented to the Executive Authority, Auditor-General in line with Section 40 (e) and is tabled at the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) in line with Section 65 (a) of the PFMA. The Annual Report covers the following:-
- Performance Information
- Governance Reports from the Auditor-General, Audit and Risk Committee
- Human Resource Management
- Annual Financial Statements.
In order to answer the question as to the means, procedures and/or controls that the SSA has instituted to prevent abuse of positions and resources, the legal prescripts are provided and then the action taken.
- Section 10 (3) of the Intelligence Services Act no 65 of 2002 provides that the Director-General of the SSA must, after approval by the Minister, issue functions directives on:
- Physical security
- Computer security
- Protection of classified information
- Conditions of service and human resources of the Intelligence Services;
- Any other matter that is necessary for the Intelligence and Counter-intelligence functions of the Intelligence Services.
- In line with the above legal provisions, the Director-General has, since 2013 and after approval of the Minister, issued functions directives relating to the above-listed matters. These functional directives contain provisions and instructions to the SSA management and rest of the members on procedures and/or controls that have been put in place to detect and address any abuse of positions and resources.
Section 38 (a)(i) and Section 45(a) of the Public Finance Management Act of 1999 require that the Accounting Officer and other officials ensure that the department maintains effective, efficient and transparent system of financial and risk management and internal control.
- In this regard, the SSA has:-
- an integrated financial management system, which is used for processing of income received and expenditure incurred and managing the assets (current and fixed) and liabilities of the department. The system maintains audit trails and ensures compliance with applicable prescripts.
- a risk management unit that is responsible for identifying the organisational risks that can prevent the department/organisation from achieving its objectives, assess the risks and recommend mitigation measures.
- internal audit whose responsibility it is to monitor the implementation of internal controls, evaluate internal controls implemented and make recommendations on how they can be improved.
In relation to Secret Services as provided for in the Secret Services Account Act no 56 of 1978 and Secret Services Special Account Act no 81 of 1969, the SSA has Operational Directives that cover every aspect of operational activities provided for in this Act as well as procedures and controls for authorisation and management of resources, including measures to detect and address abuse of the positions and resources.