11 July, Johannesburg – Today, Greenpeace Africa has withdrawn its PAIA application to the The Minister in the Presidency Responsible for State Security to provide further information on the infiltration and surveillance of civil society organisations confirmed by the declassified Boast Report[1] in July 2022. A lengthy affidavit[2] from the SSA has put to rest concerns of infiltration, however Greenpeace Africa would still support a thorough investigation conducted by the IGI as to whether the methods of surveillance of civil society organisations have at all times been legal. 

Greenpeace Africa was set to appear before the High Court of Cape Town on 18 January 2023 seeking to compel the SSA to grant access to the unredacted Boast Report, which would reveal the names of the operatives involved in infiltrating civil society organisations, and all records relating to interception and surveillance conducted against civil society organisations. The SSA prevented a court appearance by delivering an answering affidavit at the eleventh hour, and stated that such records do not exist and has refused to grant access to the unredacted Boast Report, citing section 39(b)(i) of PAIA (paras 128-139). However, the SSA gave details as to the extent of the surveillance conducted on Greenpeace Africa, and the reasons for identifying the organisation as a potential target. 

The SSA has offered that Greenpeace Africa was identified as a potential security threat because our history of protest action indicated that we might participate in further similar activities at Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) or the budget speech, due to Government’s approval of the nuclear deal (paras 118-125). 

Greenpeace Africa is satisfied with some of the outcomes resulting from the application process: collectively, Greenpeace Africa, Right2Know and Right2Protest have forced the SSA to provide a transparent account of its decisions; we has procured the reasons why we were flagged for surveillance; and we have obtained confirmation that Greenpeace Africa was only engaged through social media. 

Greenpeace Africa will continue to support its partner organisations also mentioned in the Boast Report, as they proceed with their respective applications, registering as an interested and affected party in the IGI investigation. The withdrawal of the application, against a tender of costs from the SSA, will be against an undertaking that Greenpeace Africa be informed of the determination of the investigations into the SSA’s conduct, insofar as we relate to it.

On the matter, Greenpeace Africa’s Interim Programme Director, Melita Steele, said:

“Greenpeace Africa will continue to resist injustice in South Africa and across the continent, in the courts and on the frontlines. Although we are formally withdrawing, we are offering our continued support to our partners who have stood in solidarity with us during this process. 

A transparent, honest, and accountable government would not feel threatened by the actions of a healthy civil society. We will continue to demand more from our government: more accountability, more decisive action, and more transparency,” ended Steele.


Notes to editor 

[1] The redacted Boast Report was declassified in July 2022.

[2] The affidavit can be accessed here.

Contact details 

Greenpeace Africa Pressdesk: [email protected] 

Chris Vlavianos,
Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer:
+27798837036, [email protected]