Security clearance becoming a farce and threatens SA’s security

Dr Pieter Groenewald

The minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, acknowledged that Col. Nceba Patrick Bobelo, who was found guilty and sentenced for armed robbery on 6 March 1995, had received secret clearance. She was replying to a question of Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus in Parliament. Bobelo was the commander of the Defence Force’s joint tactical headquarters in Mpumalanga.

“The fact that Bobelo had held such a strategic position and despite his crime record, could still receive a secret clearance, makes a farce of the Defence Force’s security clearance and creates a security risk for South Africa. This trend is not only visible in the Defence Force, but can also be found in the Police’s Crime Intelligence Division. Not to mention the sign-language interpreter at the memorial service of Mr. Mandela. Bobelo worked with strategic military secrets which means that enemies of South Africa could easily obtain secret clearances through which they could spy on the Defence Force,” Dr. Pieter Groenewald, the chief spokesperson on Defence for the Freedom Front Plus says.

“What is furthermore worrying is that Bobelo’s security clearance had already lapsed in 2005, but was never renewed. Secret and top secret security clearances are only valid for five years. This means that the Defence Force does not have proper control of their security clearances and it furthermore means that Bobelo had in fact worked with secret information from 2005 without the necessary security clearance. The question is how many other similar cases are there in the Defence Force. The Freedom Front Plus will be asking in Parliament that the minister does a proper investigation and that disciplinary steps are taken against the relevant individuals responsible for security clearances,” Groenewald said.


Contact no.: 083 627 4397





  1.   Dr P J Groenewald (FF Plus) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:

(1)      Why has the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) kept a certain person (name furnished) in their employ for so long despite his sentence for armed robbery;

(2)       whether the said person had security clearance; if not, why not; if so, what type of clearance;

(3)       how regularly is the security clearance of officers in the SANDF reviewed;

(4)       whether she will make a statement on the matter?     NW3639E


  1. The South African National Defence Force has not been aware until now that the said person was involved in armed robbery. This is more so because the said armed robbery occurred in about 1993.  This issue was in the domain of the SAPS. However, the SANDF is currently investigating how this oversight may have occurred.


    (2)       The member has no valid security clearance at present. However, the memberhad secret clearance which has since lapsed as of 2005. Member has not re-applied for any clearance as yet.


    (3)       Security Clearances are supposed to be reviewed upon expiry:

  • Secret clearances lapse after five years

  • Confidential clearances lapse after 10 years.

  • Top Secret expires also after 5


    (4)       No                  NW3639E




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