Ronnie Kasrils, the Intelligence Services minister between 2004 and 2008. File picture: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)
Ronnie Kasrils, the Intelligence Services minister between 2004 and 2008. File picture: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)

Kasrils slams ’incompetence’ of intelligence agencies following civil unrest

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Jul 22, 2021

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Incompetent, dysfunctional and caught napping are just some of the words and phrases that a former Intelligence Services minister has used to describe South Africa’s intelligence community in the wake of the civil unrest that recently engulfed KZN and Gauteng.

Ronnie Kasrils, the Intelligence Services minister between 2004 and 2008, did not hold back in his criticism of the country’s State Security Agency and police for their failure to nip in the bud the looting, violence and destruction of property and infrastructure that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the past two weeks.

“It’s not surprising that we’ve been caught napping because the intelligence agencies from police to the civil intelligence under the Security minister are not fit for the job, they’ve shown themselves not to be competent and this was pointed out,” Kasrils.

Kasrils said that the politicisation and factionalism of the committee meant that it was now part of the problem instead of playing its oversight role as a watchdog and ensuring the capability of the intelligence services.

“It has failed, certainly in my period, and when I watched quite intently, as the whole country did, the shenanigans going on during the Zuma years when you could see that the ANC in Parliament, its caucus and its committees were just not doing their job from one scandal to another,” Kasrils said.

He lamented that the government had not made use of the recommendations of the 2018 high-level panel review into the country’s intelligence, headed by former State Security minister Sydney Mufamadi, which had recommended a reform of the intelligence sector.

The panel found that the agency and the country’s intelligence and the parliamentary committee had been politicised and factionalised, and that this had contributed to a disregard of the constitution.

It also found that members of the SSA were often sent out on training to get rid of them or get them out of the system for a while, and that there was no systematic utilisation of training, education and development as part of a career progression and performance management system.

Political Bureau

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