Spy regulations too secret for wordsComment on this story
Johannesburg - Clean, smart spooks only, please. And be sure you can read between the lines to guess the missing employment regulations.
Lengthy new regulations for the State Security Agency (SSA) were issued this week by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, aimed at professionalising the service. It emphasises the need for ethics, fairness and a commitment to the constitution.
Parts of the regulations are so secret, they weren’t gazetted.
Although the regulations are 73 pages long, 21 of the 27 sections are missing.
Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos hadn’t seen the regulations but said he had never heard of a piece of law being gazetted with sections missing.
“I can’t imagine that regulations can be kept secret. It seems to be clashing with the fundamental principle of the rule of law,” said De Vos.
The SSA said the Intelligence Services Act allowed the secrecy.
“As a matter of principle, given the nature of our business, the publication of regulations is limited to those sections which are of a general nature and of interest to the public,” said SSA spokesman Brian Dube. “This has been the practice over years.”
The missing sections include the regulations on classification of secrets (officers deal with “confidential”, “secret” and “top secret” clearances), how to waive security measures in vetting procedures, breaches of security and contingency planning, commemorative day details, personal financial management instructions, disciplinary procedures and employment equity.
The published version includes a “profile of an intelligence officer” with a long list of attributes and qualities.
They may be dismissed in the “public interest”, for “security considerations” or for going on strike.
The regulations set out the “character of intelligence”, emphasising “integrity, objectivity and credibility”.
“Intelligence must have at least all of the following attributes: accuracy, relevance, predictive capacity, and an element of warning and timeliness,” the regulations document
PROFILE OF A SPOOK
Intelligence officers must be faithful to South Africa and the constitution, obey the law, disregard illegal orders, be able to distinguish between fact and fiction, be open-minded, understand other people’s reasoning, not be too ambitious, be able to memorise faces, have great patience, speak foreign languages, have courage, be able to simulate rage and hide their real feelings, assume a false appearance, keep state secrets at all costs, and have ingenuity, integrity, trustworthiness, humanity and compassion.
They must also dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene.