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This week, Right2Know and Greenpeace Africa have approached the State Capture Commission of Enquiry to request access to documentation regarding abuses by the State Security Agency. These will provide evidence to information tabled by the Chairperson of the High-Level Panel Review on the State Security Agency, Dr. Sydney Mufamadi, and another witness identified as “Miss K” when they testified at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry in January this year. We also want to know whether certain role players who were implicated in both Dr. Mufamadi and Ms. K’s testimony are expected to testify at the Commission or not.

In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa publicly released a redacted version of the High-Level Review Panel Report on the State Security Agency which revealed that there was a wide range of ‘rogue’ spying on and in some cases infiltration of civil society organisations, unions, student movements, and journalists. Right2Know Campaign and Greenpeace Africa were amongst the listed civil society organisations that were/are surveilled. This was reinforced by Dr. Sydney Mufamadi, and “Miss K” when they testified at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry. 

While these revelations confirmed the suspicions that we have had for a long time, we firmly believe that these rogue securocrats are a threat to our democracy and they must be dealt with accordingly. 

As such, we demand that those who were/are engaged in these criminal activities and gross abuses are named, investigated, and disciplined, and/or prosecuted where appropriate. 

Shortly after Dr. Mufumadi’s testimony at the State Capture Commission, both R2K and Greenpeace Africa wrote to the Director-General of the SSA, the Inspector General of Intelligence, and President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding redress. We want President Ramaphosa to provide us with the names of the agents (who are most likely still amongst us) and to assure us that the State Security Agency no longer has us under surveillance, that the Special Operations Unit which we were spied on is disbanded. 

Our letters also raised broader concerns that, nearly two years later, not a single person has been held accountable for the creation of a parallel structure within the State Security Agency as well as the rampant looting and malfeasance that happened in the hollowing out of the institution for political reasons.  Sadly, our communication did not receive a positive response from the government despite the fact that our rights were grossly violated through unconstitutional spying. 

The years of impunity in South Africa’s intelligence structures must come to an end. R2K and other organisations made a range of complaints to the Inspector-General of Intelligence about alleged monitoring and targeting of civil society organisations and journalists by government spies. These complaints have sat for years without being finalised. We believe that President Ramaphosa must implement all of the recommendations of the High-Level Review Panel on the State Security Agency. 

He must follow through on the commitment he made when appointing the panel to identify all material factors that have contributed to current challenges in the State Security Agency so that appropriate measures can be instituted to prevent a recurrence. 

The High-Level Panel report recommended the urgent development of a National Security Strategy as an overriding basis for redefining and refining the concepts, values, policies, practices, and architecture involved in South Africa’s approach to security; and further, that the report be the subject of engagement with Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and the Auditor-General. 

Therefore, we call on the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the Office of The Inspector General as well as the Auditor General to fulfill their oversight mandate in ensuring that the Ministry of State Security accounts for the reforms it has initiated and provide a reasonable timeframe for the implementation of the outstanding reforms to be concluded. This would be central to providing the kind of progress on the steps taken to reform the State Security and where much effort is still needed to fundamentally transform the agency.

For further comment contact:

Thami Nkosi, R2K Interim Programme Coordinator: 062 624 5992 

Nhlanhla Sibisi, Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa: 082 614 2673 

Endorsed by: Right2Protest Project

Online version: https://bit.ly/3znGaF1 

Recording of Zoom press conference: Here (Passcode: 4H=Fic3g)

YouTube link: Here

Note to media: Please attribute contents of this statement to the Right2Know Campaign and Greenpeace Africa not to any individuals unless you contact a spokesperson for specific comments.