New in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee chair vi­tal, says Mbete

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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.

PIC­TURES: BHEKI RADEBE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

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.

Baleka Mbete

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