Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence on activities of the Committee after 5 months of establishment, as stipulated in the Intelligence Services oversight Act, Act 40 of 1994, dated 10 February 2015

Joint Standing on Intelligence

Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence on activities of the Committee after 5 months of establishment, as stipulated in the Intelligence Services oversight Act, Act 40 of 1994, dated 10 February 2015


The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) is established in terms of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act 40 of 1994. In the 5th Parliament the Committee was constituted on 14 August 2014 after the process of undergoing top secret security clearance which is a statutory requirement. The members of the Committee are appointed by the President in consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, as the case may be, having been nominated by their respective political parties.



The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 recognizes that Parliament has an important role to play in overseeing government departments and its public entities. The Intelligence Services Oversight Act (Act No 40 of 1994) ensures that the JSCI performs the oversight functions set out in this Act in relation to the intelligence and counter-intelligence functions of the Services, which include the administration, financial management and expenditure of the Services.

This report is the result of Section 6(1) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act that the Committee shall, within five months after its first appointment, table in Parliament a report on the activities of the Committee.

The process of finalizing the appointment of the JSCI continued while the Committee was not functioning pending finalization of all legal processes.




The Committee was appointed in terms of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act on 14 August 2014 after all legal processes were finalized. The first meeting took place on 19 August 2014.


The Intelligence Services Oversight Act 40 of 1994 provides that the Committee shall consist of 15 members of Parliament appointed on the basis of proportional representation determined according to the formula set out in the Act. The Chairperson is appointed separately in terms of section 2(4) of the Act. Accordingly the following seats were allocated after the 2014 elections:

African National Congress (ANC)                        10 seats

Democratic Alliance (DA)                                     3 seats

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)                       1 seat

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)                                  1 seat

United Democratic Movement (UDM)                     1 seat

National Freedom Party (NFP)                             1 seat


The present composition:


Political party

Ms C C September

NA (ANC) Chairperson

Ms D E Dlakude


Ms Z S Dlamini-Dubazana


Mr D D Gamede


Mr D M Gumede


Mr C Nqakula


Mr J P Parkies


Mr O J Sefako


Mr J J Skosana


Ms T Wana


Mr H B Groenewald


Mr H C Schmidt


Mr DJ Stubbe


Mr A M Mpontshane


Mr B H Holomisa


Mr D L Twala


Mr S C Mncwabe




4. Orientation of JSCI members

After the Committee had been established with all members having been awarded with top secret security clearance certificates, they had to undergo intensive training. Section 5 of the Intelligence Oversight Act clearly stipulates that, the Committee shall conduct its functions in a manner consistent with the protection of national security. Furthermore, no person shall disclose any intelligence, information or document the publication of which is restricted by law and which is obtained by that person in the performance of his or her functions in terms of this Act.


The first induction was conducted by the Legal Services of Parliament on legislative functioning of the Committee as stipulated in the Intelligence Services Oversight Act. The Act further provides for the establishment of a Joint Standing Committee to perform oversight functions related to intelligence and counter-intelligence functions of the Intelligence Services and report thereon to Parliament. 


4.1 Interaction with Intelligence Services as part of orientation

A visit to the Intelligence Services in Pretoria was undertaken from 22 – 26 September 2014 as part of intensive interaction between the Services and the JSCI. The objective was to determine the functions of each Service and how the JSCI would plan its oversight with understanding and without interfering with national security operations.


State Security Agency undertook enormous restructuring that left the department with challenges. Some of the departments within State Security Agency had to be merged to form one department under one Director General. Previously, it was known as National Intelligence Agency (NIA) with spending agencies such as South African National Academy of Intelligence (SANAI), Comsec; National Communications Centre (NCC) and Office of Interception Centre. South African Secret Services (SASS) was a standalone with its own Director General.


The Committee was familiarized with the challenges experienced during implementation of General Intelligence Laws Amendment Act. The Act was signed and came into operation in May 2013. The Committee engaged all the Services including the Defence Intelligence which is a unit from Department of Defence and Military Veterans as well as Crime Intelligence from the Police department. 


During the visit the Committee interacted with the designated Judge for interception who gave extensive background on the requirement for authorization of interception and the process. The Judge further requested the JSCI to educate general public and Members of Parliament on obstacles that the Crime Intelligence faces and what they have overcome in terms of intercepting communication.


In terms of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act section (7), the Inspector-General has a responsibility amongst other functions to monitor compliance by any Service within the Constitution, applicable laws and relevant policies on intelligence and counter-intelligence. The Committee engaged intensively with the Office of the Inspector General.


5. Activities in the Committee during the period of reporting in Parliament


5.1 Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans of the Services


The Committee in performing its constitutional oversight mandate, engaged with the State Security Agency; Office of the Inspector General; Defence and Crime Intelligence on Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans and financial expenditure. During the interaction the Committee invited the office of the Auditor General to give financial audits of each Service. Each Service was afforded opportunity to respond to findings from the Auditor General.


5.2 Presentation of Annual Report


The Minister of State Security; the Deputy Minister and the Director General accompanied by the senior management presented the Annual Report 2013/14. The Inspector General, Defence and Crime Intelligence also presented their Annual Reports to the Committee during October 2014 respectively.


5.3 Presentation of certificates by the Inspector General


As stipulated in section (7A) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act, the Inspector General has a responsibility of reporting to the Committee on the activities of the Intelligence Services. The reports of the Inspector-General contemplated in subsection (7) (f) in respect of monitoring and reviewing shall contain the findings and recommendations of the Inspector-General. During interaction on the certificates, the Committee invited all the Services to respond to the recommendations orally and in writing.  


5.4 Meeting with the President of the Republic of South Africa


This was the first interaction that took place with the President on 10 December 2014 in Pretoria. The meetings are scheduled quarterly to reflect on the status of security of the country.


6. Committee findings


Having considered the Strategic Plans; Annual Performance Plans and the Budget of State Security Agency; Office of the Inspector General; Defense and Crime Intelligence, this section summarizes the observations of the Committee as follows:

  • The Committee raised a concern of insufficient Budget for Defence and Crime Intelligence which impacts on its ability to execute its functions effectively.
  • Vetting on crucial positions within the government departments were found to be disproportionate.
  • Border management control and private landing strips a major concern
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC) challenges relating to technology were considered.
  • JSCI to hold interactive public hearings to foster an understanding of threats to national security and to instill patriotism and sense of ownership of the country to the citizens was found as imperative to have serious engagements.
  • As one part of encouraging meaningful dialogue with the citizens, a plan should be devised to address valid grievances of protesters appropriately.
  • Allegations of fraud and corruption and the impact that it has on maintaining effective control standards in the borders, was highlighted.
  • That improved gathering and presentation of evidence in court will improve the standards of Crime Intelligence.
  • Defence Intelligence still having challenges in occupying a building that is not habitable.
  • SAPS signed Memorandum of Understanding with CSIR to address science and technology skills.



7. Recommendations

  • National integrated vetting strategy should be approved.
  • In order to address Budget challenges for Defence Intelligence an urgent Defence Review should be finalized before end of this financial year.
  • Regulations of all Acts involving Intelligence Services should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
  • JSCI and SSA need to address the challenges related to companies owned by former intelligence officers.
  • Economic Intelligence needs to be built as an area of growth and future interventions.
  • Joint policy formulation and best practices on cybercrime is proposed.
  • Review of Intelligence White Paper and policy framework should be done as soon as possible.
  • A joint oversight programme on border management should be developed together with other relevant Committees.



Report to be considered.



No related documents