Ramaphosa’s panel and overhaul of intelligence agencies welcomed
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The move by President Cyril Ramaphosa to put the security cluster under the Presidency and the announcement of the new panel to investigate the violence and the unrest that occurred last month has been welcomed by South Africans.
The riots, burning of infrastructure, looting and unrest in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal left over 300 people dead and caused the economy over billions of rands.
Ramaphosa said as part of the critical measures they are undertaking to strengthen their security services and to prevent a recurrence of such events, he appointed Professor Sandy Africa, as chairperson.
Africa is an associate professor in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, her research interests include security sector governance, civil-military relations and peace-building and democratic transitions.
Advocate Mojanku Gumbi a human rights lawyer, who has worked as both an attorney and advocate and has over 30 years’ of experience in private practice. She also served as former president Thabo Mbeki’s legal adviser for many years.
Silumko Sokupa is a former national co-ordinator of the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (Nicoc).
Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said he thinks that the president seems to be willing to undertake a complete overhaul of the security structure and he would imagine that for one to be able to justify such kind of measure of reform, one needs some kind of an inquiry that at least they can act on recommendations of an inquiry.
“Inquiries are quite interesting, you have them with people you can trust and who are credible, people whose report will not be too much of a big surprise possibly. But I do think it looks as if this thing is an indication that the president wants to apply or overhaul the whole security cluster, perhaps an inquiry can help,” said Mathekga.
Former intelligence chief Moe Shaik said President Ramaphosa is following the demands of the Constitution.
“The president is following the demands of the Constitution. For more than 20 years now we have had ministers of intelligence which was not intended as the founders of our Constitution to have ministers of intelligence so all that is happening, mind you the president is correcting something that should have been corrected a long time ago. Under the leadership of the late statesman Nelson Mandela there was no minister of intelligence, it was the minister of justice who had the responsibility for the acts of the intelligence services, we are simply going back to what the Constitution demands,” said Shaik.
He said this is the right approach in bringing the intelligence in line with the Constitution.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) said it welcomes the decision to undertake critical measures to strengthen the national security services and to prevent a recurrence of the events such as the attempted counter-revolutionary insurrection.
“In the same breadth, we also welcome the decision to conduct a critical review of the government’s preparedness and the shortcomings in its response,” said SACP spokesperson Dr Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo.