New intelligence committee chair vital, says Mbete
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to get Parliament to speed up the appointment of a new chairperson of the joint standing committee on intelligence.
This follows the departure of former chairperson Charles Nqakula, who was appointed the new national security adviser for Ramaphosa.
The intelligence committee is dealing with a number of issues on its agenda and Parliament wants the new chairperson to get on top of business.
Mbete said she would approach Ramaphosa to ensure all role players in Parliament were involved in the appointment of the new chairperson.
Nqakula, who had served as a cabinet minister and diplomat, chaired the intelligence committee for some time before Ramaphosa appointed him several months ago.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said the appointment of the new chairperson was critical as there were serious issues in the intelligence agencies. The DA complained to Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe a few months ago about the conduct of the former head of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser.
But Dintwe was caught up in a fight with Fraser when he went to court to interdict Fraser from stripping him of his security clearance and interfering with his functions.
This resulted in Ramaphosa removing Fraser from the agency to the Department of Correctional Services.
The DA in turn went to court to challenge Ramaphosa’s decision.
They argue that Fraser should be axed from the state.
But the president is defending his decision. Ramaphosa has appointed a panel to review the functioning of the agency following a slew of allegations.
The panel is chaired by former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi and it includes individuals with intelligence and security backgrounds. The president gave the panel three months to conclude its work on its assessment of the functions and capability of the agency.
Mbete said the position of the chairperson of the intelligence committee in Parliament must be filled urgently.
She said they were talking to Deputy President David Mabuza as well about the matter.
The funeral service of Struggle activist Zondeni Sobukwe, wife of PAC founder Robert Sobukwe, in Graaff-Reinet yesterday was tense when PAC supporters accused the ANC of hijacking the event. Deputy President David Mabuza, below, had to leave the venue for security reasons.