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'Cellphone signal jammer was an operational error'

David Mahlobo said there was no executive or political decision to interfere with the flow of information.

File: Houses of Parliament. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - State Security Minister David Mahlobo says the jamming of cellphone signals during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday was caused by an "operational error".

Mahlobo's office released a statement nearly a week after the debacle, which saw journalists and editors launch into an unprecedented protest over the communication blackout in the National Assembly.

Opposition MPs also took up the call of "Bring Back the Signal" in solidarity with the media.

In the statement Mahlobo said there was no executive or political decision to interfere with the free-flow of information and what happened was unintentional.

He added that the State Security Agency was responsible for the threat and risk assessment for the event.

A no-fly zone was implemented over the Parliamentary precinct because maximum security measures had to be effected.

He said an "airspace security plan" was executed "with precision" while the president and his deputy were in transit, but he claimed the application of the counter threat measure went on for longer than normal.

Mahlobo said the signal disruption was the result of a member on duty failing to properly terminate the device.

Watch: Bring back the signal.