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Gungubele put in charge of State Security: 'He has Ramaphosa's full confidence'

18 January 2022 9:21 AM
Tags:
State Security Agency
SSA
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele

Criminologist Dr. Simon Howell and security expert Prof Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk chat about Minister Mondli Gungubele's appointment.
  • President Ramaphosa has given Mondli Gungubele political responsibility for the State Security Agency (SSA)
  • Last year, Ramaphosa announced the SSA would be brought under the control of the Presidency
  • Security expert Prof Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk says Ramphosa chose a minister that he can trust to take the lead
  • Criminologist Dr. Simon Howell says it's unclear whether the Presidency will have the technical capacity to handle SA's intelligence arm

Minister in The Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has been given political responsibility for the State Security Agency (SSA).

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his decision on Monday.

Security expert Prof Anthoni van Nieuwkerk says the Constitution requires that Ramaphosa either assumes responsibility himself or appoint a Cabinet member to take charge.

RELATED: Absorbing State Security into the Presidency was unexpected move - Tshidi Madia

During a Cabinet reshuffle in August last year, Ramaphosa scrapped the State Security department and placed political responsibility for the SSA in the Presidency.

Van Nieuwkerk says Ramaphosa has been given Gungubele the top job because he trusts and supports him.

Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa continues to serve as second-in-command.

WATCH: Gungubele says the law must take its course after ministers held hostage

The professor says Ramaphosa remains nervous about the abuse of the SSA and may want to keep a close eye on things.

However, van Nieuwkerk warns that the centralised control will only work as a short-term solution to safeguarding the country’s national security.

In the long-term, there may be a growing threat of an "Imperial Presidency" with too much control, he says.

This is not the long-term solution, this is a short-term answer to the problem that the President faces which is the abuse of intelligence by political factions inside the ruling party.

Prof Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk, Associate Professor - School of Governance (Wits University)

The Constitution demands that either the President himself or a minister allocated by him must exercise control or oversight... When the President moved the political oversight of the SSA into the Presidency, he had a to find a minister to do that.

Prof Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk, Associate Professor - School of Governance (Wits University)

Politically, I would say that the President needs to make sure that intelligence is overseen, managed, and steered by a Cabinet minister that has his full confidence and support, and that's why he made that choice.

Prof Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk, Associate Professor - School of Governance (Wits University)

At the same time, criminologist Dr. Simon Howell has questioned whether technical capacity exists within the Presidency to operate the SSA effectively.

"We can only hope that there is some sort of capacity to do this, it is a big portfolio and it's a big jump up in terms of power, needs, technical ability etc.", Howell tells CapeTalk.

As to whether the Minister in the Presidency has the ability to lead this organisation, I'm not sure. It does seem like an odd move, but only time can tell.

Dr Simon Howell, Research associate - UCT's Centre of Criminology

There is a need for the President to have some sort of direct connection to state security bodies and organisations but whether they are needed only by the President, however, is a different question entirely.

Dr Simon Howell, Research associate - UCT's Centre of Criminology

It begs the question: Why does the President himself need this type of security power, especially in a democratic dispensation like South Africa?

Dr Simon Howell, Research associate - UCT's Centre of Criminology



18 January 2022 9:21 AM
Tags:
State Security Agency
SSA
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele

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