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Mahlobo: Too much information one of govt's biggest security challenges

Former State Security Minister David Mahlobo has lamented "a new phenomenon" of people accessing information illegally and then making it public.

FILE: Minister of Energy David Mahlobo. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress’ (ANC) David Mahlobo has identified "too much information" as one of the biggest security challenges confronting the government.

Mahlobo, who was State Security Minister before President Jacob Zuma put him in charge of the Energy portfolio in his latest Cabinet reshuffle, has lamented what he calls "a new phenomenon" of people accessing information illegally and then making it public.

Mahlobo claims this is tarnishing the country’s reputation.

He was briefing ahead of the ANC’s national conference starting on Saturday, where a new leadership will be chosen and policy decisions taken.

Mahlobo did not name the publications he says are harming South Africa’s image.

“Lately you see a number of books, a number of writings, other things are substantiated, others are unsubstantiated – and the damage it cause(s) to the reputation and brand South Africa.

Author Jacques Pauw has questioned why police are pursuing him, instead of moving to investigate and prosecute the criminal acts he details in his book, The President’s Keepers.

Mahlobo seems more concerned about information becoming public, rather than what it reveals.

“The biggest issue is there is too much information that actually gets to be generated – either though leaks, or espionage, even through hacking – but also information that is produced through peddling.

"And it’s a new phenomenon that, when we convene there (at Nasrec), we will see where are the weaknesses, either in the system, also in terms of the law."

Mahlobo highlighted the role of government employees in leaking information.

"In other words, we must be worried about people who are working in the system - even how angry they are, or how agitated they are, they must be able to live (up) to their oaths of office. If we are the custodians of information, keep it well. It is one of the issues that we are going to discuss."