Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 7 - Intelligence (National Treasury)
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 30 Jun 2009
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Wednesday, 1 July 2009 Take: 385
Debate on Vote No 7 - Intelligence (National Treasury):
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Chairperson, Ministers, hon 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 disruptions.
It is the provision of this foreknowledge that lies at the heart of the mandate of our intelligence services, which is partly demonstrated by our name change to the Ministry of State Security, which better reflects what we do. There can be no development without security; there cannot be security without development; and there can be neither without a strong 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 at a range of initiatives that are intended to strengthen our ability to meet the task at hand. By so doing, we shall be building on the solid foundation laid by the late Ministers Dullah Omar and Joe Nhlanhla, which was given further expression by our former Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Ronnie Kasrils.
The need for intelligence to be at the centre of government can be traced back to clans, kingdoms and nations since the dawn of time. This is illustrated in the writings of ancient commentators, such as those of the 11th century, for example, Nizam al-Mulk.
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 the 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 weals and woes of the country depend on them. When they can be relied upon, there is no need for anxiety.
The leaders of our African kingdoms also relied upon those "without self-interest" to defend their territory against forces that sought to steal their land, plunder their resources and enslave their people. Given that this year marks the 130th anniversary of the 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.
Cetshwayo passed the baton on to those who followed, as evidenced by Inkosi uBhambatha's renowned Chakijana, who lived up to his namesake, the crafty mongoose, which was famous for its smartness, being on the alert and always ready to bite first. Chakijana used his much sought-after skills gained in the South African War to serve as Bhambatha's most formidable lieutenant in the Impi Yamakhanda.
Just as our intelligence services are at the centre of giving expression to our people's long-held aspirations of a united, democratic, nonracial and nonsexist South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white, we have to and must be at the centre of ensuring our continued peace, security and comfort.
This is particularly necessary given the threats we face today. These threats originate from both the domestic and foreign arena; they stem from state and nonstate 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 diseases and human and natural disasters. They include intra- and interstate conflicts; terrorism; nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation; espionage; subversion; sabotage; transnational syndicated crime and corruption; smuggling and human trafficking; and 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 our government's programme of action informed by the 10 priority areas identified by President Zuma 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 recent, successful elections to demonstrate this.
These achievements, however, do not belong to our intelligence community 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 to heart the President's call to action for continuity and collective responsibility, and we will indeed work together to build a secure and safer nation.
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. 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 to upholding national security. This will also spell out a management system that will ensure that all the capabilities of the government and the nation are effectively harnessed and co-ordinated to better deal with the threats confronting us.
The forging of identity and other official documents, the penetration of our information communications technology systems to perpetrate fraud, the break-ins in a number of our strategic entities, the selected and distorted leakage of state information to destabilise and sow divisions all impact negatively 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 by corrupt officials, criminal syndicates, foreign adversaries or information peddlers.
We will devote more resources to securing the integrity of the state's information, its processes, its employees and its critical infrastructure. We will resubmit the draft Protection of Information Bill to Parliament. This 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 ensure 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 our 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 in 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.
Deficiencies in the control and security of our borders have been identified as a challenge for some time now. These emanate mainly from the lack of integration by departments at our ports of entry. They are facilitated by corrupt officials and they are exploited by transnational crime syndicates and people-smuggling syndicates.
Notwithstanding the improvements made by interdepartmental initiatives led by the Border Control Co-ordination Committee, 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 charged us with the responsibility of co-ordinating 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.
Crime remains a source of concern despite the important advances that have been made. It destroys lives, property and infrastructure. It affects us all, more especially the poor and the most vulnerable. While the police are leading the charge, we must contribute towards tracking the phenomenon behind organised crime and terrorism. Working together, we will ensure that syndicates have no place to hide.
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 the Indian Premier League, the 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 the world over. As such, we will continue to make our country safe and an attractive venue of choice. In particular, our focus 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 an effort to provide maximum security to this mammoth event.
South Africa's national security is inextricably linked to peace and stability in our region, on our continent and in the world. We note with pride the advances we have made through the ongoing role that we play in bolstering government's facilitation, conflict resolution, peace-making and postconflict initiatives.
Our achievements in this regard bring to the fore the importance of co-operating with foreign intelligence services. We must continue to build on these because, as the visionary Kwame Nkrumah reminds us, and I quote:
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.
In this regard, we will strengthen our partnership with the intelligence and security services of SADC 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, in its efforts to provide intelligence that will enable the African Union to compete and protect our collective interests.
In the next five years, we'll focus on improving the quality of intelligence products by increasing our capacity and building a professional civilian intelligence service. In doing so, we will prioritise the development of our human resources, which constitute our most valued asset. We will open up our recruitment processes and inject 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 our officers have the right instruments to remain a step ahead of our adversaries. And we will unfailingly ensure that the power and public funds entrusted to us are used responsibly.
We will resubmit the draft Intelligence Amendment Bill to Parliament to address any gaps, which will place us on an even stronger legislative footing. We will strengthen our co-operation with the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the Inspector-General for Intelligence Services, the Auditor-General and the designated judge responsible for interception directions, who collectively operate on behalf of our people to ensure our accountability, legality and ethical conduct.
Our mission to ensure that we provide value for money, however, may prove impossible with the current way we are structured. There is a proliferation of structures and this 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.
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: Mr Manala Manzini from NIA; Tim Dennis from SA Secret Service; Silumko Sokupa from Nicoc, the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee; Mike Sarjoo from Sanai, the SA National Academy for Intelligence; Miriam Sekati from the Intelligence Services Council; Loyiso Jafta from NCC, the National Communications Centre; Brian Koopedi from the the Office for Interception Centres, OIC; Joe Kotane from Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd, Comsec, and all their management teams and hard-working members.
I acknowledge the chairperson and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, led by Mr Cecil Burgess; the Inspector-General, Mr Zolile Ngcakani; the Auditor-General, Mr Terence Nombembe; Judge Swart; and the chair of our staff council, Xolile Mashukuca. Thanks also 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. This underscores what we intend doing:
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.
Much like Chakijana of centuries past, whose determined spirit continues to shape our advances, we will not fail as our President, our government, our people and future generations are owed no less.
Chairperson, I request that the House adopts the Vote on civilian intelligence services.
Mr C V BURGESS / End of take
THE MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY
Mr C V BURGESS: Hon Chairperson, Minister, Ministers from the Security Cluster who have joined us here today, hon members, distinguished guests, members of the intelligence community and all those members of the intelligence community that the hon Minister has mentioned, who are present here with us today, on behalf of the committee, I would like to congratulate hon Minister Siyabonga Cwele on his reappointment to the newly named Ministry of State Security.
We acknowledge that this is the Minister's day and I, in particular, do not want to spoil the proceedings. Nevertheless, we note that the Minister has crossed the floor. We must remind the Minister that the agenda of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence remains the same, that is, strict oversight, notwithstanding the fact that the Minister has crossed the floor.
The Ancient Roman Satirist, Juvenal, is recorded as having written, and I quote, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" translated as, "Who will guard the guards themselves?"
The notion of oversight over rulers is an ancient Greek one captured in the philosophy and writings of Plato, and more particularly his great work known as The Republic. In this regard, even as Plato contemplated the notion of an Utopian society, he did not exclude the question of who shall oversee the rulers. Oversight over government is not a new concept and has its roots in the ancient Greek and Roman societies.
Captain Timothy J Doorey in an article in May 2007, titled Intelligence Secrecy and Transparency: Finding "The Proper Balance from the War of Independence to the War of Terror", had the following to say about oversight, and I quote:
All major democratic governments' activities require oversight and accountability, both internal and external, to ensure that they are performing their mission competently, operating within the law and using public funds in an efficient and effective manner. This oversight requirement is essential for the intelligence community since most of its activities of necessity are conducted under the cloak of secrecy; not subject to many of the traditional safeguards common in our government agencies.
The Intelligence Services Oversight Act, Act 40 of 1994 provides that there shall be a Parliamentary committee known as the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, which shall, subject to the Constitution, perform oversight functions set out in the Act. As identified by the old philosophers, oversight of government and particularly the Intelligence Agencies is not a luxury but a necessary function as part of the overall instruments that operate in a democracy.
I do not wish to dig up old bones and disturb hidden emotions. But let me remind the House how horribly wrong things can go when there is no oversight over agencies that gather and operate with intelligence products. In this regard, we are reminded that for many years, the JSCI warned against the now defunct Directorate of Special Operations, DSO, the Scorpions, and the fact that it was gathering intelligence, but was not subject to any form of oversight.
Not even after the Khampepe Commission confirmed that the DSO was gathering intelligence and recommended that this activity needed to be stopped immediately, was the necessary action taken. As a consequence, we were finally faced with that most evil document that became known as the Browse Mole Consolidated Report, being manufactured right in the midst of the DSO and under the guidance of its leadership. These are the evils that one can expect if oversight in the field of intelligence is ignored or undermined.
It is important for all involved in the intelligence community, including the JSCI, to find a proper balance under our Constitution between intelligence secrecy, accountability and transparency. However, the JSCI remains what it is, an oversight body, necessary and relevant in a democracy.
The JSCI has an oversight function over the new Ministry of State Security and the agencies for which the hon Minister is responsible. The JSCI also has an oversight function over Crime Intelligence, a division of SAPS, the Defence Intelligence Division of the SANDF, which do not, however, fall under the jurisdiction of the hon Minister.
We also wish to remind the hon Minister that on 25 June 2009, the hon President Zuma, in his response to the debate on the Presidency Budget Vote, reminded the nation that the new members of the Executive were going to, and I quote, "hit the ground running". I am not sure at what speed the hon Minister intends to hit the ground. However, we would like to remind him at that at whatever speed he intends hitting the ground, he needs only to look to his side and he will find the JSCI right next to him. We believe this is what the President has called for: strong oversight. And we, as the JSCI, intend to oblige.
Even as we now remind ourselves of the oversight role, we recognise the importance of the community when it comes to safekeeping of our society, the protection of our democracy and the very important role that the intelligence services play in this regard.
We are particularly comforted to hear from the hon Minister that his people were working together with the other agencies in the security cluster to produce a very successful hosting of the Indian Premier League, the successful hosting of the Confederations Cup and also the involvement of the agencies in the April national and provincial general elections. We trust that we will continue to execute this oversight role and make sure that the Minister and his agencies play just as an important role in the forthcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup.
There's a matter that attracted my attention yesterday; I thought I might mention it here. I was listening to the radio last night and there was a caller who described that he had this fear that if Jacob Zuma became President, the country would become unstable. He said he had, in fact, because of his fear, considered leaving the country. However, he admitted that after listening to President Zuma's speeches, he was extremely impressed and reassured, and now has an expectation that there is a serious commitment of good will from the new government.
But I think we must remind the doubters, the prophets of doom and those who live in denial, that the record of the ANC and the ANC government is not contained in a secret document neither is it the subject of suppression; no, not at all. What is common knowledge to all is that from the Freedom Charter to the Interim Constitution with its constitutional principles, to the leadership of Nelson Mandela, to the new constitutional Republic of South Africa and to our present President, President Jacob Zuma the ANC government and the ANC has been consistent and the record shows an unmistakable commitment to reconciliation, the building of a caring society, transforming from an old and oppressive to a new democratic order and a commitment to the protection of the Constitution and fundamental rights.
I really think the point I would like to make is for one to imagine what our country would become if the ANC and the government left the country.
The Minister must not forget when implementing these programmes that he has so kindly introduced us to; that we have committed ourselves to gender equality in the services. The JSCI therefore will monitor this development very closely.
The JSCI welcomes the Minister's assurance that he will soon reintroduce the necessary legislation to strengthen the work of the agencies. In particular, we look forward to the re-introduction of the Protection of Information Bill. We hope that the Minister has considered the proposals made by the ad hoc committee that dealt with the Bills.
We note that the foreign policy of our country is particularly directed at Africa. We have seen the defence force involved in massive peacekeeping exercises on the continent. Our government has also actively been assisting in peacekeeping negotiations throughout the continent. All this hard and necessary work is directed at enhancing and encouraging the spread of democracy on the African continent.
The JSCI has identified Africa as part of its strategic plan in spreading the necessity of the concept of an oversight authority in the field of intelligence. We must say, however, that our initial interactions have found that, in general, such a concept is foreign and when raised is viewed with anxiety and suspicion by our African counterparts. However, the JSCI will continue with its effort in emphasising the necessity of using proper oversight over intelligence in Africa as a fundamental to the acceptance and creation of democracy.
I thought I might mention another strange factor that has suddenly visited our society. A new menace has emerged in recent times on the African continent. I refer here to piracy against sea vessels. This remains a significant issue, with billions of dollars of losses per year, attributed particularly to the waters between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast.
The International Maritime Bureau records indicate that hostage- taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. In 2006 there were 239 attacks, 72 crew members were kidnapped and 138 taken hostage. In 2007, the attacks rose to 10%. These attacks seem to be growing on a yearly basis and therefore pose a significant threat to the economy of our country and the stability on the African continent. We trust that the intelligence agencies and our security personnel are mindful of these very dangerous happenings in our waters.
In conclusion, in his state of the nation address, on 3 June 2009, the President identified 10 priority areas, which form part of the Medium-Term Strategy Framework for 2009 to 2014.
However, the President cautions that one of the biggest milestones in achieving our objectives would be the current global economic meltdown, but assures the nation that it will not alter the direction of our development.
I end in anticipation on a note of enthusiasm, realising that we must work as a collective towards the realisation of the President's 10 priority areas. As the President has put it, "working together, we can achieve more." I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr T W COETZEE / End of take
Mr C V BURGESS
Mr T W COETZEE: Mr Chairperson, hon Minister, hon chairperson of our portfolio committee, hon members, distinguished guests, and not forgetting those who are viewing us on the TV this afternoon: To spy or not to spy! To be or not to be! Can a nation state be what it aspires to be without effective intelligence services that collect and analyse secret information that enables its leaders to make better informed decisions? I think not.
George Smiles once asked, when he was speaking to a group of newly recruited officers:
Why spy … for as long as rookies become leaders we shall spy. For as long as there are bullies and … madmen in the world … for as long as nations compete … politicians deceive … your chosen profession is secured.
The need for intelligence has in fact existed since the dawn of time and the origins of the profession can be traced back to the Old Testament, as evidenced by the reference to Moses dispatching his spies across the River Jordan to bring back reports about the land of Canaan.
As human societies evolved, growing ever more complex and interdependent in their interactions with each other, so the need for intelligence grew as leaders across the centuries increasingly relied upon the skills of their spies.
Developments illustrate how intelligence was viewed as an indispensable adjunct to state craft, which intimately gave rise to the establishment of specialised intelligence services with both a national and international reach. These remain a permanent feature of nation states today. Given the threats in our unpredictable global world that knows no borders, we cannot afford to discard the age-old craft of intelligence.
We must collect and analyse unique information, most often under the cloak of secrecy in order to ensure the security of our state, our people and the country. No responsible government can allow the neglect of its intelligence services.
Mr Chairman, I am not convinced that we are not doing just that at this point in time. I will come back to this point.
The Constitution, by providing for the establishment of the intelligence services, recognises their importance and necessity in building a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental rights. In so doing, it envisions them as a credible force for good which protects the state, its citizens and the democratic order according to the intelligence services' special powers and capabilities for that purpose.
Yet these powers and capabilities are by no means unfettered, and whatever fears and misgivings some might have about the intelligence services, our constitutional imperatives provide for powerful checks and balances.
In this regard the Constitution, in Chapter 11, sections 198, 209 and 210, clearly spells out the key principles and directives for the intelligence services.
Mr Chairperson, if all of us present here today would just think for a moment about what I have been saying, then all would agree that what I have said is very clearly defined and stated in the 2009 manifesto of my party, the DA, namely that we stand for an open opportunity society and that we will, under all circumstances, protect and defend our Constitution at all costs.
Further, Mr Chairperson, it is not only our high-sounding principles that define the role and function of our intelligence services, but we have put in place oversight bodies to enforce the necessary parliamentary and public control.
The White Paper on Intelligence, the National Strategic Intelligence Act of 1994 and the Intelligence Service Act of 2002 establish the guidelines and regulate the activities of the intelligence services, providing the framework for effective control and oversight.
The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence is a creation of the elected representatives of the people to ensure that our intelligence services can enjoy the trust of all South Africans. It maintains a vigorous oversight that ensures that the secrecy our services need is not abused, but used to protect one of the key challenges of parliamentary oversight, namely, to strengthen confidence in and mobilise community support for our intelligence services.
Intelligence services are conducted under conditions of changing global threats. This has generally resulted in granting more power to intelligence agencies to deal with these threats in most parts of the world. This, Mr Chairperson, brings me back to the statement that I made earlier, that I am not confident that we are not neglecting our intelligence services. I am of the opinion that we are neglecting our intelligence services to a great extent and that they are not getting the recognition they deserve.
Mnr die Voorsitter, ek is een van die bevoorregtes om deel te mag wees van die Gesamentlike Staande Komitee vir Intelligensie en het gister die voorreg gehad om die Minister en al die hoofde van die verskillende dienste van ons intelligensiedienste te ontmoet.
Dit was vir my opmerklik met watter passie van toegewydheid en verantwoordelikheid hulle hul aan die nuwe komiteelede kom voorstel het en watter groot ontsag hulle vir die voorsitter van die komitee en die komitee self het.
Dit beteken egter nie dat alles wel is nie. Ek is van mening dat ten spyte van die feit dat ek 'n voorstander is dat daar op dié vlak van intelligensie gespesialiseer moet word, wat wel die geval is, behoort die verskeie agente nouer met mekaar saam te werk om moontlike duplisering te voorkom.
Wat egter opvallend was, was dat die Nasionale Intelligensie-agentskap se begroting vir die finansiële jaar 2009-10 met meer as R72 miljoen gesny is in verhouding met die vorige jaar se begroting, en dit in ag genome dat die Wêreldbekersokker net om die draai is, 'n tyd wanneer ons land deur middel van ons intelligensiediens paraat moet wees. Dit is juis in tye van sulke groot byeenkomste waar mense oor die wêreld heen na Suid- Afrika gaan kom dat ons nie kan bekostig dat ons onkant gevang word nie, en dat daar nie verwag kan word dat die huidige ekonomiese toestand van wêreldwye reses die rede is dat daar op die begroting van intelligensiedienste gesny moes word nie.
Want sien, met die aankondiging van die Begroting in Februarie vanjaar het die Minister van Finansies nog ontken dat ons land in 'n reses is. Dit wys vir my daarop dat in daardie stadium die belangrikheid van ons intelligensiedienste nie deur die Minister van Finansies erken is nie.
Daar is onder andere drie aspekte van die Gesamentlike Staande Komitee van Intelligensie wat my diep bekommer. Die eerste een is die feit dat die ondersoek na die komiteelede – "vetting" - en onderhoude eers werklik die afgelope week gedoen is. Dit het veroorsaak dat die onderskeie agentskappe, onder andere, die NIA, eers Maandag, 29 Junie, kennis gekry het van gister se vergadering.
Wanneer in ag geneem word dat die Parlement reeds op 6 Mei geopen het en dat die proses rakende die komiteelede eers na meer as ses weke 'n aanvang geneem het, dui dit vir my daarop dat die proses nie met verantwoordelikheid bestuur is nie.
Verder beklemtoon dit vir my dat die waarde van die komitee totaal en al onderskat word. Na my mening is die Gesamentlike Staande Komitee van Intelligensie seker dié komitee wat verantwoodelik is vir die oudit van ons land en sy mense se veiligheid en dus 'n groot rol speel in die sukses van ons land se veiligheid.
Artikel 6 van die Wet op die Komitee van Parlementslede oor en Inspekteurs-generaal van Intelligensie, Wet 40 van 1994, bepaal dat die Gesamentlike Staande Komitee oor Intelligensie jaarliks 'n verslag oor die werksaamhede van die komitee aan die Parlement moet voorlê. Die laaste beskikbare jaarverslag dateer terug na 2004-05. Dit was gedoen onder die voorsitterskap van die destydse voorsitter, wat vandag ons agb Minister is. Volgens inligting is die laaste twee jaar se verslae onderweg van die komitee na die President, wat dit eers moet goedkeur alvorens dit gepubliseer kan word.
Ek is verseker dat die proses dringend ondersoek en reggestel moet word. Dit geld ook vir die ouditeursverslae. Die twee dokumente is onder andere die belangrikste verslae wat die publiek nodig het om verseker te wees dat daar na hul en die land se binne- en buitelandse veiligheid gekyk word.
Members will recall that in 2004 a pledge was made to build the professional, effective, accountable intelligence service that South Africa requires to meet the complex security threats of the 21st century.
The need for professionalism has become all the more apparent in recent years where intelligence services internationally have had their fair share of mishaps.
Another concern which is referred to over and over again, is the vetting of personnel in certain positions of the three tiers of government. There is no sense in only vetting a person a year after his or her appointment in a position where vetting is required prior to the person's appointment.
Chairperson, in conclusion, personal safety is an imperative for an open opportunity society for all. Yet South Africa is trapped in a web of terror caused by crime. Many lives have been lost. Many of us have been deeply traumatised. We have become suspicious of fellow citizens and distrusting of the institutions that are supposed to keep us safe.
We will all agree that crime is crime, whether it is rape, or organised crime or self-enrichment or protecting someone who has committed a crime. With the lack of annual reports over the past few years, I am curious to see the intelligence services' reports on the Selebi case and the arms deal. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M S SHILOWA / End of take
Mr T W COETZEE
Mr M S SHILOWA: Chairperson, Ministers, hon members, I think that one of the challenges we face is less about whether or not we need intelligence, but how ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! This is not about you hon Mr Shilowa. Once a person is speaking you cannot walk in front him. Could you please avoid that, hon members? Thank you. You are in order Mr Shilowa.
Mr M S SHILOWA: Thank you. I was saying that the challenge is less about whether or not we need intelligence. It is about how, in a democracy, we ensure that we have intelligence which is legitimate, honest, integrating, nonpartisan, accountable and professional, and which also respects the Constitution and human rights. To put it differently, it is about where they themselves are at the forefront of the defence of our democracy and Constitution without being a subject of suspicion in terms of what they do, but rather where safety, security and the democracy we enjoy is attributed, in part, in terms of what they do.
For us in Cope it is a question of how we ensure over the next five years that that really becomes the agenda of the engagement between us, the intelligence services and the rest of the parties. If we can achieve that then we will be able to ensure that anything else that we do, even in that committee, will be more about safeguarding our democracy, peace and security rather than each party worrying about whether or not state security is being used for party political purposes.
Secondly, the issue of the need for integration of work that is being done by the different intelligence services, in particular, NIA, SASS, Defence Intelligence and Crime Intelligence. That becomes very important so that we are able to ensure that each of the respective areas that they work in complement what the other is doing.
The other point to bear in mind though, is that one of the reasons why I'm raising these issues is that apartheid, over time, blurred these lines of accountability, of separation between the role of the intelligence and using them for party political gains. How do we ensure that in a democracy those kinds of issues do not happen? How do we ensure that some of the things that may have happened in the recent past, albeit on a limited scale, become more the exception that all of us must deal with, rather than the norm, which may just grow as we go forward.
The whole issue of what role they can play in terms of vetting has already been raised, so I am rather going to deal with the whole issue of how we deal with crime syndicates. We need to be able to find means and ways in which we can be able to say, to an extent, that we're cracking down on many crime syndicates because of what our intelligence services do. But the converse may also be true in that we may have to say that the reason we are not able to combat these syndicates must, therefore, mean a failure on the part of the intelligence. How do we find that balance because it may be that the failure is not in the intelligence, but may be political in such a situation?
There is also the issue of human trafficking. How do we also ensure that they are able to play a role in the prevention of human trafficking, and similarly, in terms of some of the drug syndicates or white collar crime.
We are told that some of the gangs operate from prison, where they are already in custody. How do we ensure that in terms of our own intelligence, acting in a professional manner, we are able to ensure that people don't go to jail and then continue with their criminal activities from inside? I'm saying that just as those successes can be attributed to intelligence, we need to know if such failures happen, how do we then deal with them.
There was the unfortunate incident of xenophobia. It's a matter of public knowledge that that is a matter which they still debate - whether or not the intelligence were caught napping, and/or whether information had been gathered and passed on, but politicians may not have acted on it.
Minister, there was also the Joe Matthews report, for lack of better word. What is its status? When are we likely to get a sense from the Minister and the government in terms of how it seeks to approach it? Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr C T MSIMANG / End of take
Mr M S SHILOWA
Mr C T MSIMANG: Chairperson, hon Minister of State Security, other hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, members of the intelligence services, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, in view of the huge outcry by the people on the ground about criminality in our land, I rise to exhort the Department of State Security to double its efforts to change the negative connotation, which describes South Africa as the crime capital of the world.
In particular, we are concerned about the flaring up of atrocious crimes, which are unprecedented in our country. One would have expected such crimes to have been prevalent during the apartheid regime when we were oppressed. Yet they have become more common now in the postapartheid era, when we are living in a land of freedom and democracy.
I'm referring here to crimes such as cash-in-transit heists, car hijackings and sexual abuse of infants, young girls and elderly women. We definitely need our intelligence agencies to analyse these developments and identify the origins of such devious and weird behaviour so that we treat the causes and not the symptoms.
Also very disconcerting is the widespread drug trafficking that has become such a menace to the lives of our youth in particular. A country which cannot protect its youth has already compromised its future. What is more disturbing is that addiction to drugs gives birth to further violent crimes, including theft, robbery, rape and murder.
We also need our intelligence working closely with the Department of Home Affairs to protect our porous borders and thus minimise cross-border crimes. I'm happy that the Minister has already referred to this and identified some weaknesses in this terrain. The crimes of the present ICT world, especially internet fraud, also need close attention.
However, in conclusion, we would like to commend our intelligence agencies for ensuring that the recent Fifa Confederation Cup was played, as the hon Minister pointed out, in a crime free environment. This is an excellent advertisement for our country and it will go a long way towards motivating even the most sceptical overseas soccer lovers, to flock to South Africa for the Fifa World Cup tournament next year. Thank you.
Ms S C N SITHOLE / End of take
Mr C T MSIMANG
Ms S C N SITHOLE: Thank you, Chairperson, for allowing me to speak today. Hon Minister and Ministers present here, comrades and friends and the intelligence community, I want to thank you, the intelligence community, because you have proved beyond reasonable doubt that you are really doing your work. You have proved it with the success of the Confederations Cup that took place in South Africa; you have made us very proud.
Chairperson, I was born in 1948 when the Nationalist Party started to rule, and I have actually lived through the rest of the reign of the apartheid regime. I want to thank my mother, Grace Shope. I am dedicating this speech to her because in the midst of suffering, she taught me the Freedom Charter. She taught me how she participated in the Freedom Charter in Kliptown, at the Congress of the People. [Interjections.]
She made me understand the meaning, sentence by sentence, of the Freedom Charter and that is what kept me strong throughout my life because we were subjected to serious harassment by the so-called security forces of this country.
I want to assure you, Mr Coetzee, that I am one of those people who had serious fears and misgivings about the intelligence and security institutions of this country because throughout my life, my mother's home was searched, documents were taken, her letters were always intercepted.
I and my two siblings were fetched from school and harassed. Ultimately my brother was killed by the security police at the institute of learning in Turfloop.
My younger sister was taken into custody. She was kept in Haenertsburg, where it was very cold. She suffered from arthritis, and in 2003 she died from that arthritis. So I've every reason not to trust the security forces and the intelligence of the apartheid regime.
But, fortunately, I want to thank the ANC, because they have given me a chance to be here. There are more important people, hardworking comrades, who would have been here instead of me, but they have given me the chance to be here and trusted me by putting me in this committee which has opened my eyes and reminded me of the teachings that my mother taught me because I had completely lost hope in those.
The Freedom Charter said that all shall be equal before the law and the police force and army shall be the helpers and protectors of the people. In 1992, the ANC, in its Ready to Govern guidelines, said the security institutions shall respect human rights, there shall be nonracialism and democracy, and it shall act in a nondiscriminatory manner towards the citizens. That is the intelligence of the ANC in our democracy.
The ANC understands one thing: that all the hopes of gathering information for the protection of the citizens will only take place if we have the resources and we are able to manage our resources. The word "accountability" was heard for the first time when the ANC started to govern, and we have the responsibility of actually following up on that word.
It was not introduced just for whiling away time. I was lucky to have been the chairperson of finance for nine years and have been through the processes when the Public Finance Management Act was formed. I understand the letter and spirit of the Act. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N B FIHLA / End of take
Ms S C N SITHOLE
Mr N B FIHLA: Chair, hon Minister, Deputy Minister and other Ministers, hon members, heads of the services, ladies and gentlemen, not so long ago we went into the towns and villages of our beloved country, campaigning for the elections. My organisation, the ANC, took it upon itself to emphasise the fight against crime and corruption by ensuring that in its manifesto fighting crime and corruption became one of the priorities.
The ANC in its manifesto said that –
Fighting crime and fighting the causes of crime will be a priority of the ANC government in the next five years, and there is a need to overhaul the criminal justice system, to ensure that the levels of crime are drastically reduced. Corruption must be stamped out. The ANC government will, firstly, establish a new, modernised efficient and transformed criminal justice system to develop the capacity for fighting and reducing crime in real terms. Government will review the functioning of the police, judiciary and the correctional services to achieve integration and co-ordination.
Secondly, it will actively combat serious and violent crime by being tougher on criminals and organised syndicates. In this respect, we will increase the capacity of Saps, through recruitment, rigorous training, better remuneration, equipping and increasing the capacity of especially the detective services, forensic, prosecution, judicial services and the crime intelligence, to establish and strengthen the new unit to fight organised crime.
Fourthly, it will provide greater support for Saps, especially to combat the attacks on the members of Saps, including the introduction of legislative measures to protect law enforcement officials in the execution of their duties. Fifthly, government will combat violence and crimes against women and children by increasing the capacity of the criminal justice system to deal with such violence and, lastly, mobilise communities to participate in combating crime through establishing street committees and community courts amongst others.
This was informed by the obvious increase of rural crime and crime against poor people. When law abiding citizens are under siege from criminals and corrupt elements, they have nowhere else to run to for help except the state. When poor people no longer feel safe in their homes and women and children are abused, they look to the state for protection. A state that fails to protect its most vulnerable members will have failed embarrassingly in its role to deliver services.
The role of the Ministry of State Security, the former Intelligence Services, in this regard will be to ensure that necessary information is provided so as to forewarn the frontline departments in the fight against crime. Criminals have adopted advanced strategies, and in the past they clearly showed that they were a step ahead of some government strategies for combating crime and corruption.
As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, I have no doubt that the committee will commit itself to ensuring that the government improves on its fight against crime and corruption.
Countries that have solely relied on technology have failed in assuring the accuracy and reliability of the intelligence gathered. Events like 9/11 have clearly taught us that there can never be a successful intelligence service that excludes members of the community when collecting information. Intelligence officials must leave their offices and walk the streets to interact with members of the community. As the ANC, we have made a commitment to our people to fighting crime and corruption, by ensuring that state departments are co-ordinated and assisting each other to with this monster. The ANC supports the budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S T NTABENI / End of take
Mr N B FIHLA
Ms S T NDABENI: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members and invited guests, it is the pleasure for me to come back again and to make a presentation before this august House. This is a clear sign that one is beginning to adjust and familiarise oneself accordingly with the processes here in Parliament.
The overwhelming mandate affirmed for us by the electorate during the recent April 22 national general election resembled their love, respect and confidence in the ANC as an organisation that was established to carry their hopes, aspirations and future prospects.
As we gather in this House to engage on a topic that is very close to the heart of our people, building an effective and competent Intelligence Service, I am defeated by the desire to start from the genesis of the intelligence politics in this country.
While scores of our people in Africa and the Diaspora were being sold as slaves, killed for defending the integrity of their country and their land and being forced to adapt to foreign identities, Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela and Nkosikazi Nosekeni Fani Mandela in this period engaged in a progressive struggle that led to the birth of the son of the soil, Tat'omkhulu Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela, whose contribution is being celebrated internationally.
Hon members, the Freedom Charter says, "There will be houses, security and comfort!" This affirms the indivisibility of the relationship between security and development.
The ANC Polokwane Conference resolved to capacitate the Intelligence Services of our country so as to proactively deal with matters threatening peace and stability of our country. This resolution was taken with acknowledgement of the important and critical role that this section has to play in the efforts of fighting crime and also to ensure that the service is used for its intended objective, which is forewarning.
We clearly understand that for this to happen there must be an intensive training and ongoing capacity-building of the staff in the services. This will therefore ensure that the intelligence structures render to the nation quality service and advice.
Hon members, within the intelligence services, there is an academy, the South African Academy of Intelligence, which has been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the staff within the intelligence services is capacitated so as to be able to adapt to the ever-changing local, global and continental environment.
This structure has been faced with challenges of resources and some accreditations. This is now partially addressed as the institution has some courses which are accredited by the South African Security Services Education Training Authority.
The ANC members in the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, commit themselves to assisting this academy to improve on its performance and quality of its product so as to get the Intelligence Committee's ability. We will ensure that the academy is properly resourced to fulfil its mandates, whilst we will also exercise a robust oversight to ensure that there is accountability of financial expenditures.
Mhlalingaphambili oosomakhwekhwetha kwezobuNtlola kumazwe afana noSkotilani banamaphulo okuqeqesha iintloli zabo ekuphuculeni umgangatho wobuchule. Eli phulo lokuqeqesha iintlola zethu kweli lizwe, lingaba nokusinceda ngakumbi kwikamva nokhuseleko lelizwe.
Kuyafuneka sibandakanye kolu qeqesho namapolisa kumacandelo onke. Umzantsi Afrika lilizwe ekujongwe kulo yi-Afrika iphela. Xa sizimisele ekuphumeleliseni eli phulo, singa vuselela ubuzwe bethu. Kufuneka siyibeke ezingqondweni zethu ukuba ukhuseleko lubalulekile kwaye luxhomekeke ekuthini sazi ezona zinto zinokuthi zibe ngumqobo nezingumceli-mngeni kukhuseleko lweAfrika.
Hon Minister, it is then of the essence that the budget put before us addresses the aforementioned issues and, if it is possible, it should be increased in order to put more emphasis on the needs of training in this regard.
I am mentioning this because it would not be proper to budget less for training as it is advantageous for building a sustainable future in this sector. As the budget was presented by the hon Minister, I am of the view that one could not have done better. To do justice to your good work, hon Minister, let me honestly support this budget as I am hopeful that it will bear desirable results.
Mr L T LANDERS/ End of take
Ms S T NTABENI
Mr L T LANDERS: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Cecil Burgess Chairperson of the JSCI, hon members, as I rise in support of this particular budget, it is important to note that budget debates are occasions on which we take stock and look at the previous year's activities of the department or organisation in relation to its programmes for the year and the years to come.
This year's debate on South Africa's Intelligence Services takes place against the backdrop of possible changes to our intelligence structures. This is possibly evidenced by the fact that the former Ministry of Intelligence has been renamed the Ministry of State Security.
Perhaps it is appropriate for us to have a common understanding of the concept "national security". National security has to be seen as a balance between the security interests of the state, in other words, state institutions, the Union Buildings, state departments, Tuynhuis, etc, and the welfare and prosperity of the state's citizens.
The gathering of intelligence forms an integral part of state security. Indeed it has been argued that national security is unattainable without intelligence. As a contribution to our national security, our Intelligence services identify, evaluate and analyse threats. Our Intelligence Services warn our policymakers about real and possible threats as well as risks and dangers from any and every source, both within the country and from without.
It must be said that in doing this it is essential that our Intelligence Services provide our government only with cold, hard and accurate information as opposed to information that government wants to hear.
It is equally important, if not more so, that our Intelligence Services should never serve party political interests or a particular segment of society.
In his introductory speech, the hon Minister made reference to certain steps that he intends taking and we want to say at this point that we welcome his stated intention to table the Protection of the Information Bill, which we sent back to the Ministry last year.
But we do want to say that the border control matter cries out for resolution. We await with interest the proposed border management agency and we will be interrogating that particular structure vigorously as the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.
The authority given to Law Enforcement Agencies and our Intelligence Services allowing them to legally intercept communications is an essential and crucial tool in this country's fight against crime, terrorism and espionage to name but a few. We welcome enthusiastically, therefore, the announcement this morning by the hon Minister of Justice that the Regulation of Interception of Communications Amendment Bill has been finally promulgated.
We particularly welcome the implementation of Section 40 and Section 62 as a mandate. This Amendment Bill was first tabled in this Parliament in 2006 and is only now going to be implemented. The real reason for the inordinate delay in its implementation will eventually see the light of day because as Shakespeare said, "the truth will out", and I trust and hope that I will be here to see that day.
We also note yesterday's edition of Business Report describing these Amendments as, and I quote, "a burden on providers". I am somehow cynical about such a description
Given the haste with which we received briefings from the services and agencies yesterday, it is incumbent upon us as members of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence to receive a comprehensive briefing from, amongst others, the Office of Interception Centres, OIC. In the light of the promulgation of the Rica Act, we will need to rigorously ascertain the OIC's preparedness and effectiveness, its capacity and resources for providing a service to our law enforcement agencies and Intelligence Services.
We will need to pay particular attention to the OIC's ability or inability to intercept communications in urgent or emergency situations.
When Parliament considered this Bill, it was pointed out that there are always emergency or urgent situations in which law enforcement agencies find themselves. A few examples, such as the kidnapping of a child, the delivery of drugs across the borders of South Africa, necessitate that the law enforcing agencies take immediate operationals steps to either bring back the child to its parents or capture the drugs as well as the person delivering it. And so the OIC is expected to provide such a service to the law enforcement agencies and it must do so effectively at any given time.
The idea of secrecy and the conducting of secret operations in a democratic society and constitutional democracies such as ours, is a contradiction and a paradox. The challenge we face as members of a Parliamentary committee charged with overseeing and monitoring our Intelligence Services stands on two legs.
On the one hand, we must ensure that the fundamental civil liberties our citizens enjoy are protected from any and all abuse by our Intelligence Services.
Simultaneously, on the other hand, we must also ascertain that the people of South Africa are getting value for money provided to our Intelligence Services by our Treasury.
I have a dubious distinction: I am the longest serving member of this committee, and so I think I am somewhat qualified to offer a few words of advice. Becoming a member of the JSCI places on one a heavy and onerous burden and hon members will find this out in due course.
You meet behind closed doors, you are vetted, you are not allowed to issue statements and very quickly you realise there's no glamour in it - something which is anathema to a Member of Parliament and a politician! By becoming members of the joint standing committee we accept such challenges and commit ourselves to achieving the goals I have referred to.
In the time that I have left, allow me to respond just briefly to both Mr Coetzee and to my hon chairperson. The hon Cecil Burgess referred to piracy in the Somalian Waters and I don't want to be misunderstood as justifying such piracy, I agree with him wholeheartedly. But I wonder if we could go back and ascertain the causes of that piracy and perhaps we should at some point request a briefing from the Director General of the South African Secret Services in this regard because my information is that, firstly, Somalia was invaded by Ethiopian forces. In the ensuing period, its waters were plundered and thereafter huge ships hove to on the horizon and dumped toxic waste in Somalian waters.
I am not saying that this is true; one needs to ascertain what is true and what is false. I don't believe Somalians got up one morning and decided, "Today I'm going to become a pirate".
With regard to the hon Coetzee's reference to the JSCI's report and the fact that it's being delayed by the Presidency, we agree. If necessary, Chairperson and hon Minister, the JSCI will bring Amendments to the Intelligence Services Control Act, introducing deadlines for both the Presidency and the services to ensure that the date provided for in legislation is met timeously.
It's been a privilege and an honour, Chairperson, and I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Baphela): Hon Minister, you have an additional seven minutes and it's up to you to use it all if you wish.
THE MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY
Mr L T LANDERS
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Chairperson, I assure you, I will not use all of it as it's quite late in the day.
Let me firstly congratulate t Chairperson, those members who have been deployed by their parties to this important statutory committee, the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. As some of the members say, there is no glamour there, but a great responsibility is put on these members to ensure that our services remain accountable and that we do the right thing in securing our nation and democracy.
Let me also move on to say that, on the issues raised about the delays of the repose of the JSCI, we will work with the JSCI to assist in improving the system because we may find that these delays are sometimes in the Presidency, our services or committees and at times in the Parliamentary system.
We have to find a comprehensive way of dealing with it because it is a very critical report for the public and other Members of Parliament which will show what these members are doing behind these closed doors. We really support that the issue be submitted within the stipulated period of two months after the end of the financial year.
I would also like to thank members for the valuable input made by all members who have spoken today. These valuable inputs have been noted, and we will act on some of the recommendations that have been put. They have shown that they have really hit the ground running and I'm not going to comment on the threats made by the chairperson about the speed at which they will be moving!
Let me say that our intelligence services and the whole intelligence community, both civilian and from the armed forces, welcome oversight. They are not scared of oversight because they value the constructive criticism as that can only bolster the professionalism with which they do their work. It will also ensure that they stick to the law and advance and achieve the goals that were set in the legislative framework.
I will say without any fear of contradiction that I think all the services which were here, the members and senior management, take these inputs in a positive way.
Let me also say that because we have a lot of veterans of intelligence here. We must also remember that these intelligence officers from both the statutory and nonstatutory forces played a very critical role in ushering in our democracy. Without them it is doubtful that we could have achieved that transition which we had in 1994. So we do value the work that they have contributed to ensuring that we maintain this democratic order of our young democracy.
In this regard, we intend to have our veterans play a bigger role and not have to go to full retirement, both in teaching our new recruits and in advising in some of the aspects of our work.
The Chairperson has raised the challenge of piracy in Somalia. Our intelligence services are working hard on this. They have instructions and they do produce reports regularly for the government, and we will be able to brief the JSCI. But the problem of Somalia is primarily an issue of a failed state, a failed democracy where you let armed and trained people roam the streets. That is what we see as a result of that failed state. But we will continue to monitor other aspects of that piracy, which may have an impact on our regional and continental security because this is of concern to us as government.
Hon Coetzee has raised the challenge of what we do about these global threats and more powers being given to our intelligence services to deal with them. The only advice with regard to more power being given to intelligence is that there must be even more oversight by the committee, the Inspector‑General, the Auditor‑General and all those who are entrusted with the task, because if they don't do that, then we run the risk where our services can run loose and start doing things that are untoward in terms of our Constitution.
In terms of expediting the vetting – hon Member Shilowa was speaking about the problems of delays in vetting - the new vetting strategy on which we will also brief the members in the near future is intended precisely to deal with this. The key component of that vetting strategy is to deploy trained people in each of the key state departments or state institutions who will do preliminary work in the vetting process and the agency will do more advance work which necessitates more skills in vetting. We hope in that respect that we will be able to expedite the process. Also, the deployment of what is called "security managers" in each state institution and department is to raise the awareness about security in terms of handling our documents and information.
We, the JSCI, will play a very critical role in visiting some of these state institutions because NIA does these assessments, sometimes unannounced, in all the state institutions to check the state of the protection of that information. So we really hope that working together with the JSCI, they can play a more leading role in this type of oversight so that we can instil this culture in all our state institutions and departments.
Hon Mr Shilowa also raised the challenge of the unfortunate occurrence of xenophobia which we had over a year ago. It remains a concern on our radar screen as an intelligence community because we wouldn't like that to happen. But in the main, it was caused by people and particularly those who live in conditions of poverty in informal settlements scrambling for these scares resources. That is the basic root cause of it. So we have to continue to monitor the migration of our people.
This is why in this government, we emphasise, for example, planning and rural development so that we can deal with this challenge of migration because migration is not only about foreign nationals, but people are migrating from rural areas to urban areas, from conflict areas to more secure areas and from poor countries to where they can at least have an opportunity to find jobs.
Earlier this year in February, under the SA Secret Services and the rest of our intelligence community, we held a conference to which we invited South Africans, departments and people from SADC, particularly the intelligence community, to deal with this challenge of human migration and the threat to our national security and how we can ensure that we manage migration properly - because we can't stop it - in way that will allow us to benefit from it because there are several benefits we can get in terms of skills that we are lacking at the moment.
Hon Mr Shilowa, the report of the commission which was set to look at the adequacy of the regulation of our intelligence community is called the "Joe Mathews Report". We are just finalising the processing of that report and soon we will be tabling that report before Cabinet, and we hope that soon we will be able to brief the committee on this report. The premature release of this report is unfortunate because as we stand, that report has no status in government, but we will be able to brief the community in full once we have finalised the processes in government.
The adequacy of the budget remains a challenge. We do understand, Mr Coetzee, that the economic downturn does have an impact on what we can spend. And checking the current economic situation, we have to spend prudently. But we are also worried about cutting the budget in critical areas. For instance, we have to invest in training our people in specialised skills. In intelligence we require mathematicians, engineers, economists, etc. We do need these skills; so we have to first invest in our people adequately so that we can deal with these critical challenges we are facing.
In addition, we have to invest in technology, because if our technology is outdated we will soon not be able to listen to those whom we must listen to. So we have to invest in those critical areas, particularly technology and specialised skills. We will continue to mobilise resources within the limited resources we have in our kitty.
With regard to the comprehensive briefing of our members, I would like to assure the members who are being appointed in the committee now that in the near future our department intends to assist members to get these comprehensive briefings once the process of appointment is finalised. That will require time because it is important that you understand what they are supposed to do in order to be able to oversee them properly. So we will facilitate that process and we will appreciate if members can meet and give us dates, preferably three to five day so that we can adequately ensure that these members can effectively carry out their mandate of ensuring the oversight of our services. With those few words, I would like to thank all the members and I commend the debate. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 18:24.
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