Picture: Molaole Montsho/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - The government has come under fire for lacking the intelligence to thwart the spate of attacks directed at foreign nationals in the country.

The DA, African Christian Democratic Party and Freedom Front Plus said on Tuesday that the country's intelligence services were in disarray and could not prevent the violent attacks on foreign nationals.

Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo said plenty of work had to be conducted by intelligence agencies.

“We have three intelligence outfits and they all work together. It is not true that there is no oversight on intelligence,” said Dlodlo.

“We work as a cluster, we provide information and we don't arrest. We are on the ground and we are not overt.”

Dlodlo also highlighted that due to the covert nature of the department's work, the public would not be privy to the finer details arranged by the intelligence agencies.

Opposition parties also told Parliament that the lack of intelligence had failed to prevent xenophobic violence.

DA MP Andrew Whitfield pointed out that there was a clear lack of intelligence to detect and prevent the outbreak of attacks on foreign nationals adding there were also not enough police officers on the ground to deal with crime.

ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe maintained that he was concerned the intelligence agencies had failed to pick up attacks on foreign nationals.

He said this was also worsened by reports on infighting in the police crime intelligence unit and questioned why the police had not arrested the masterminds behind the attacks.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the intelligence agencies were working hard to address the violence and that in some parts of Gauteng attacks were prevented as a result of the work conducted by intelligence agencies.

Speaking on the issue of gender-based violence, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula explained that efforts were being made to deal with attacks on women.

She said a committee would be established between the police and the prosecuting authority to look at cold cases in relation to gender-based violence and other sexual crimes.

While the National Prosecuting Authority has a conviction rate of 74% in gender-based violence cases, Cele said the police would improve the situation.

He promised to improve security at universities to prevent further attacks on students.

Political Bureau