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Letsatsi-Duba vows to restore integrity of State Security Agency

Tabling her budget vote at Parliament, State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba outlined some of the steps she’ll be taking to address the rot.

FILE: Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, takes oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony of the new National Executive at the Tuynhuis in Cape Town on 27 February 2018. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba says allegations of corruption and misconduct at the State Security Agency have to be confronted head-on.

Tabling her budget vote at Parliament on Friday, Letsatsi-Duba outlined some of the steps she’ll be taking to address the rot.

The State Security Agency has been beset by allegations of malfeasance and abuse of state resources through its secret account for years.

Former director-general Arthur Fraser was last month redeployed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head up Correctional Services after Fraser revoked the Inspector General of Intelligence’s security clearance, allegedly to block an investigation into his conduct.

Letsatsi-Duba has pledged to restore the credibility and integrity of the country’s intelligence services and public confidence in the organisation.

“We will have to confront these allegations of corruption and misconduct in the state security structures head-on and hold the guilty parties responsible to the letter of the law and take steps to recover monies not accounted for.”

Letatsi-Duba says the recommendations of the review panel announced by Ramaphosa will be speedily implemented. A review of the Intelligence Oversight Act and other legislation is also on the cards.

“There will be no place for rogue elements within our intelligence services.”

She says the independence of the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence will be strengthened, and a deputy post might be created.

WEAKNESSES

At the same time, the minister says systemic structural and governance weaknesses in the country's intelligence services need urgent attention.

Letsatsi-Duba has acknowledged that confidence in the State Security Agency has been undermined by allegations of corruption and malfeasance and she’s pledged to restore it.

The minister, on what she found after appointment in February, said: “We are confronted with systemic structural and governance weaknesses that require urgent attention.”

She says the review panel of experts announced by Ramaphosa to inquire into the State Security Agency’s mandate, structure and capacity will be appointed soon.

“We shall work with speed to implement its recommendations as we focus on restoring the public’s confidence.”

Letsatsi-Duba says the review panel, to comprise no more than 10 experts, will also look at the investigation that was concluded into the controversial parallel spy operation, the Principal Agent Network or PAN, that was set up under Fraser.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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