SSA has been a critical tool for the success of State Capture

SSA has been a critical tool for the success of State Capture

big Daily Maverick Discussion with advocacy team members was hosted by journalist Rebecca Davis by Vicki Heidemann, a member of the Rivonia group of advocates and evidence lead for the Zondo State Takeover Investigation Commission; and Heidi Swart, research and press coordinator at Intelwatch. The discussion focused on ways to prevent future theft of the SSA’s Secret Service account.

In his final report, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noted that the SSA takeover contributed greatly to the broader crisis of state capture in South Africa. SSA resources were used as a stray fund for factions within the ANC during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure. It was reported that more than 1.5 billion rand was looted between 2008 and 2018.

Despite the lack of accountability, in Paragraph 604, Volume 5, Part 1 of the Zondo Report, witness Loyiso Jafta – Former Acting Director General of the SSA from 2018, “The flow of money from the SSA used for a political party, the African National Congress, was convincing but In a funny way; it can be easily picked up.”

In a discussion with Davis during the webinar, Heidemann explains, “One of the values ​​that was in our 1997 white paper on intelligence was that the intelligence agency should be politically neutral. But we’ve heard evidence of the State Security Service being used to serve the interests of the ruling party and factions within the ruling party.” , which was problematic in and of itself.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: Crush the SSA’s piggy bank – and the roots of apartheid

According to the Chief Justice, the looting of the SS was made possible by the lack of information about their activities that had been made available to the Auditor General of South Africa, which also enabled the withdrawal of huge amounts of money from the Secret Service account.

outdated framework

During the apartheid era, funding for security agencies was used to violate human rights. Heidi Swart explains that the South African intelligence financing model is outdated and therefore outdated in the context of South Africa, as it was inherited from the British government in the 1940s to curb communism.

They came here mainly because they wanted to control in a subtle way and direct in a subtle way the way politics was conducted. They did this despite the fact that they admit in their internal writings that this may be, or is likely to be, at the expense of the already oppressed black South Africans. “Today we are still stuck with that legacy,” Swart said.

SSA relevance today

Over the years, the United Kingdom has changed its reforms while South Africa has yet to reform this harmful system designed for times of war and oppression. The burning question is, “What is the SSA doing here and why do we need it in today’s world?”

Heidemann suggests that if South Africa really wants to separate its intelligence services from both the apartheid era and the statehood era, it needs to “reset the mechanisms through which the SSA operates”.

South Africans remain unclear about the mandate and purpose of the South African Agreement. However, members of the online panel discussion agree that the role of the SSA should be to protect South Africans, yet there is little evidence that this is the case. It appears the SSA failed to alert the nation before last year Sandton Terror Threat He seemed to be in the dark about Circumstances surrounding the events of July 2021.

“If we think about what our security services should be, and certainly what we thought our security services should be after 1994 in the 1990s, it is about securing us as South Africans. Ensuring human security. Making sure our constitutional rights are protected. This was not What the state security officers seem to be doing. What exactly did they do? I don’t know, I don’t think our parliamentary committee on intelligence knows enough about what our state security is doing and that’s really the problem because if we want to subject the projects and operations of state security and its objectives to a cold light. Today may We are shocked and horrified,” says Heidemann.

The bottom line is that between transparency (so that South Africa does not suffer from a hijacked service) and confidentiality (so that agencies can perform their functions effectively and reliably), the mishandling of taxpayers’ money is not a foreign problem for South Africa.

There should be some degree of secrecy towards intelligence operations. But to ensure that state funds are not violated, there must be a balance in terms of accountability.

“Intelligence services should be by the people, for the people,” Heidemann says. DM


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