(Debate in Parliament)
A serious problem with the state's intelligence and security community is that the notion of confidentiality is being exploited to evade parliamentary oversight and accountability and possibly also to cover up crime.
Confidentiality is frequently used as an excuse to evade the difficult questions asked in Parliament about possible irregularities. And so, accountability to Parliament is also side-stepped.
The definition of confidentiality must urgently be reconsidered so as to keep these agencies, the State Security Agency (SSA) in particular, accountable.
Not too long ago, the Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo, was unhappy because her acting Director-general, Mr Loyiso Jafta, gave evidence before the Zondo Commission. Why is that so? If there was nothing to hide, she would have welcomed his testimony.
I recently addressed written parliamentary questions to Minister Dlodlo about evidence that was given before the Zondo Commission regarding the SSA that apparently issued weapons to individuals without keeping record of what those weapons were being used for.
The Minister did not answer the question, she merely said that an answer had been submitted to Parliament. Enquiries about the matter, however, revealed that she had not done so. She does not even comply with the rules of Parliament.
Another example of the lack of accountability relates to the fact that the former Minister of Safety and Security, Sydney Mufamadi, submitted a comprehensive report on possible irregularities at the SSA to President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018 already. Since then, no steps have been taken to address the matter.
With regard to the SSA's "Project Justice", Mufamadi testified that millions of rand were paid to the former Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo. There is only silence about that too.
There is an English expression that states: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". So, people who are aware of wrongdoing and keep quiet about it are complicit.
Action must be taken against the implicated individuals and if they are guilty, they must be sent to prison. Serious crimes must not be covered up under the smokescreen of "confidentiality".