JSCI cloak of secrecy must be removed to be more accountable to the people of South Africa

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of State Security and National Security Advisor to the Leader of the Official Opposition
15 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

The DA will be introducing amendments to the various pieces of State Information laws making it a criminal offense to talk out about issues discussed in the Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence, otherwise known as the JSCI.

The JSCI has a very important role in the South African political field, but its days of cloaks and daggers must end.

Big brother is there, keeping an eye on all of us, and I am quite sure in many cases, keeping an eye on those who threaten us as political opponents. But the South African public has absolutely no way of keeping tabs on the group of people who form part of the JSCI.

Of course there are things that must remain a secret. We all know if there is an imminent terrorist attack or a planned murder, it must be kept under wraps so that secret operations can take place to stop them. But the hard truth is our security services have become the new playing field for state capture and must be stopped.

A significant question in politics is “who watches the watchdogs?”. In the case of South African intelligence services the answer is simple – no one.

There is no committee that oversees the office of the President and therefore, we as South Africans have absolutely no insight into what goes on, what is approved, how people are appointed and how things are done. This is not international best practice and certainly makes for fertile ground for a new form of state capture.

The DA is of the firm belief that dating back to the dark years of apartheid, the reason the government could get away with what it did was because the public never knew what was going on. We believe that if the issue is in the public interest, it must be made public. There is no more hiding from the South African people.

We will be pushing very hard to have the Section 89 committee into the Phala Phala incident established and to be fully in the public domain. We believe that ad hoc committees into public violence, alleged wrongdoings by Ministers and the Presidency and all issues dealing with public funds must be placed in the public domain.

There is a very strong and sound reason that the leader of the official opposition now has a National Security Advisor. No stone will be left unturned and no piece of information will pass us that has any negative effect on the South African public.

The DA will do everything in its power to ensure that State Capture never happens again. We will work to stop any corruption cover-up and to ensure that the state security apparatus is a watchdog for the people, not of the people.