Public Protector candidate calls for spooks to be held accountable

Pension Funds adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane wants spooks to be subjected to the same rules as other public servants. Picture: Supplied

Pension Funds adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane wants spooks to be subjected to the same rules as other public servants. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 24, 2023


Pension Funds adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane has called for members of the intelligence agencies to be held accountable like any other public servant in the country.

She said no public servant should be treated as being above others.

However, Lukhaimane denied any role in the Principal Agent Network (PAN) project at the National Intelligence Agency where she was working as a general manager many years ago.

She said the PAN project was a covert operation, and in fact, a parallel structure.

She was involved with the overt systems of NIA when she was general manager.

Lukhaimane, who was interviewed for the position of Public Protector by members of the ad hoc committee on Thursday, said what emerged from the Zondo Commission showed that there must be strict control of the laws in the land.

“You saw a situation where we risk creating a different kind of public servant that is actually not accountable to anyone. The Public Protector’s Act is clear, it says you need to look at everything, but there seems to be some sort of agreement over time. I know they used to have some memorandum of understanding, the intelligence agencies need to have an MOU that lapsed in 2013. Since then nothing has (replaced it).

“We have all heard about the abuse of resources within the security agencies. We have heard about the repurposing of the agencies. If we are really saying that everyone is equal before the law and there is rule of law, why is it that we have this section of public servants that cannot be looked into?

“But we tend to in that environment be fixated with the executive authority’s interference, yet no executive authority ever went to the State Security Agency and signed out money. It is public servants that are doing that,” said Lukhaimane.

When asked about her role at SSA Lukhaimane said at the time she worked there they had put in control measures to prevent abuse of systems.

“Given the controls we had put in place, one of the outcomes was that people resorted to the PAN project. When I arrived at NIA as general manager of human resources, they had just gone through a large intake of interns, they call them trainees. That one was mired in all sorts of things.

“I was not on the covert side of the business, but on the overt one,” said Lukhaimane.

She said the work of the intelligence agencies must be subject to scrutiny like other public sector officials.

Spooks should be held to the same accountability standards as other employees in the public sector, said Lukhaimane.