AmaBhungane, the Right2Know Campaign, the Institute for Security Studies and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution have sent letters here and here to parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI), Speaker Baleka Mbete and all political parties calling for the selection of a new Inspector-General of Intelligence to be restarted – and to be held in the open.
The JSCI recently completed its interviews for a replacement in secret, despite the selection of the outgoing Inspector-General, advocate Faith Radebe, having been conducted in public in 2009.
AmaBhungane, Right2Know and the Institute for Security Studies have engaged with the JSCI over recent months in an attempt to convince it to drop the cloak of secrecy at least for this appointment, for which public trust is vital. The requests have been to no avail.
On March 30, National Council of Provinces Speaker Thandi Modise confirmed in a letter to Right2Know that the JSCI had completed the interviews and would report to the National Assembly on the outcome of the process.
This new call from the media and civil society comes at a crucial time. The Constitution requires the JSCI’s preferred candidate to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.
This may be hard to attain if parties believe that the process was flawed because of its secrecy.
A recent Daily Dispatch report suggested that the JSCI accepted none of the eight short-listed candidates, and that the committee intends restarting the process.
If there is a repeat selection process, it is hoped that calls for transparency will be heeded. The JSCI has not commented on the report.
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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.