David Cameron mum on UK spying

Clayson Monyela said internal talks will be taking place Tuesday.

Clayson Monyela said internal talks will be taking place Tuesday. Picture: Sxc.hu.

CAPE TOWN - Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has not commented on claims that the UK spied on South African diplomats.

_The Guardian _newspaper reported on Monday that British intelligence hacked into a computer network used by South African diplomats during G20 Summit held in London in 2009.

The International Relations Department's Clayson Monyela said it was yet to receive a full report. But the department has condemned the matter in principle.

"We do have a meeting planned with the UK as part of our SA/UK bilateral relations. We meet every year and the meeting is planned for October and one of the things we'll be raising is this issue."

However, Monyela said internal talks would take place on Tuesday.

"As the executive we're meeting today and I know this issue will be on the agenda, even if it's ahead of the October planned meeting. There may be a decision to call the High Commissioner to get an explanation but also a sense of what they plan to do about this."

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said if the spying did happen it's a more common occurrence than governments are willing to let on.

The evidence of the bugging is contained in documents classified as top secret, which were uncovered by whistle blower Edward Snowden, who worked for America's National Security Agency (NSA), and seen by The Guardian.

The documents suggest the operation was sanctioned at senior level in the government of former prime minister Gordon Brown.

The ISS's Martin Ewi said spying was a somewhat common practice for governments but usually only for security.

"It's something that in the intelligence community everyone knows [about] and it comes at a time when [US President Barack] Obama is struggling to explain to the world about these kinds of activities."

He said, however, that in this case, it appears as though British intelligence was looking for more than just potential security threats.