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State Security Agency not a pawn of the ANC

(Budget vote debate in Parliament: State Security)

If the controversy surrounding the State Security Agency (SSA) is not resolved soon, the public may lose all its faith in the Agency.

One of the burning questions relating to the SSA is the position of the Deputy Minister of State Security, Zizi Kodwa, and the possible security risk he poses to the SSA and the country.

It came to light before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that Deputy Minister Kodwa owes a certain person R1,7 million. He himself admitted that he will not be able to settle this debt in the foreseeable future.

All members of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence must obtain a clearance certificate before being able to serve on the Committee. They are assigned a 'secret classification' due to the nature of the SSA's work.

It makes no sense that the Deputy Minister was able to obtain security clearance seeing as his unpaid debt definitely means that he is compromised.

I am calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately strip the Deputy Minister of his office. He poses a real risk to South Africa's security.

In the past, the SSA was frequently surrounded by controversy, and still situations are allowed to develop that do not instil any confidence in the public.

The High-level Review Panel tasked with looking into the SSA's controversy found, among other things, that there was needless and excessive secrecy on the part of the SSA, which undermined the work of Parliament's Standing Committee on Intelligence.

Another finding was that the SSA was exploited for faction fights within the ANC, and that the Agency's funds were misused for this purpose.

The Agency was recently moved to the Presidency in the hope that these problems would be addressed and resolved.

Given the situation with the Deputy Minister and the same degree of secrecy toward Parliament, however, it does not seem that anything changed for the better.

One cannot help but wonder whether the SSA was not simply taken over by yet another faction in the ANC.

President Ramaphosa must act quickly if he wants to restore the public's faith in the SSA as an objective and neutral entity serving the state and country.

Should he not do so; it will inevitably raise the question of whether the Agency is once again acting in the sole interest of the President.

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