SSA defends owning & using signal jammers

The State Security Agency says the disruptors were one of the additional measures to ensure maximum security.

FILE: Screengrab from the 'bring back the signal' chant by the media in Parliament during State of the Nation Address 2015.

CAPE TOWN - State Security has defended its right to own and use signal disruptors.

This emerged in an affidavit filed in response to a court challenge launched by several organisations including Primedia Broadcasting.

The application to prohibit the use of cellphone blocking devices in Parliament was heard in the Western Cape High Court last week after the signal jamming debacle at the State of the Nation Address (Sona) earlier this month.

Watch: Journalists started chanting 'bring back the signal' in Parliament.

In court papers, Acting Deputy Director General in the State Security Agency Sipho Blose says signal disruptors are used for intrusion and bomb detection.

He says the agency is legally authorised to possess and use these devices.

He says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has exempted the agency as a national security cluster department from having to obtain a radio frequency spectrum licence.

Blose says the disruptors were one of the additional measures implemented during Sona to ensure maximum security.

He maintains the disruption occurred when a member on duty failed to turn off the device inside the National Assembly chamber.

The matter has been postponed to tomorrow.