Vote on new Inspector General of Intelligence delayed

ANC moved to delay the vote on Cecil Burgess after not getting the required number of votes.

FILE: ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani moved to delay the vote on Cecil Burgess on Wednesday. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The appointment of former ANC MP Cecil Burgess as the country's new Inspector General of Intelligence appears to have hit a stumbling block.

His nomination by Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence was to have been endorsed by the National Assembly on Wednesday.

But at the last minute it was withdrawn, triggering speculation that the ANC's not been able to muster the two-thirds majority of votes that the law requires.

The Inspector General of Intelligence is tasked with overseeing the country's intelligence agencies and protecting spies from abusing their powers.

Burgess's nomination is controversial.

He's the man who piloted the so-called Secrecy Bill through Parliament and who, as chair of the joint standing committee on intelligence, failed to ensure it submitted its annual reports on time.

Freedom of Information Advocates Network believes he is unlikely to act with the independence required for the job.

There were opposition jeers yesterday when ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani moved to delay the vote on Burgess.

DA MP David Maynier says it's because the ANC could not persuade enough opposition MPs to back Burgess and obtain the two-thirds majority vote the law requires.

The ANC has 249 seats in the National Assembly.

It needs 18 opposition votes to achieve a two-thirds majority.