Calls mount for immediate suspension of those implicated in SSA probe report

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance on Sunday called for the immediate suspension from public service of all those implicated in the report of the special review panel on the State Security Agency (SSA).

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday authorised the publication of the report of the high-level review panel on the SSA which he had appointed in June 2018 to assess the mandate, capacity, and organisational integrity of the agency.

"A key finding of the panel is that there has been political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation, and other prescripts," the presidency said in a statement on Saturday.

The report had been redacted for public consumption in view of the fact that the full report contained the names and identities of persons who could not be named at this point, as well as details of operational matters that would compromise the work of the SSA, the presidency said.

In a statement on Sunday, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said that last year, the DA formally wrote to Ramaphosa requesting that he place former SSA boss Arthur Fraser, currently serving as national commissioner of correctional services, on suspension pending the conclusion of the investigation into serious allegations levelled against him. The DA also filed an application in the Gauteng High Court to set aside the appointment of Fraser.

These allegations related to Fraser’s alleged involvement in the principal agent network initiated by the SSA and his decision to withdraw the security clearance of the inspector general of intelligence "to block the release of information regarding political collusion", Steenhuisen said.

The report released on Saturday vindicated the DA’s claims, with shocking findings, including "that from around 2005, the leadership and management of the State Security Agency were unable to separate their professional responsibilities from their political inclinations".

"This became progressively worse during the administration of [former] president Jacob Zuma, with parallel structures being created that directly served the personal and political interests of Zuma and, in some cases, the relevant ministers. There has subsequently been a serious politicisation and factionalisation of the intelligence community based on factions in the ANC."

Those at the top turned the civilian intelligence community into "a private resource to serve the political and personal interests of particular individuals (Jacob Zuma)", Steenhuisen said.

The politicisation of the agency resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation, and other prescripts. Due to wide-ranging resource abuse, the SSA became in effect a "cash cow" for many of its members and external stakeholders. While the report did not specifically name those implicated, looking at periods of tenure cited in the report, it was clear that certain people were complicit in “executive overspill”, he said.

"The report recommends an overarching overhaul of the intelligence and security architecture of the country. The Democratic Alliance calls for the immediate suspension from public services of all those implicated.

"Criminal charges must also be laid with the SAPS [South African Police Service] to finally bring to book those who have looted the SSA for the nefarious ends of ex-president Jacob Zuma, the Guptas, and their corrupt cronies," Steenhuisen said.

African News Agency (ANA)

108018435 - Calls mount for immediate suspension of those implicated in SSA probe report

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