Burgess recommended as new inspector general

Cecil Burgess. (Liza van Deventer, Gallo)

Cecil Burgess. (Liza van Deventer, Gallo)

The standing committee on joint intelligence has decided that former ANC MP Cecil Burgess is the right man for the job of inspector general of intelligence.

The committee interviewed 11 candidates for the position earlier this month and after deliberations on Wednesday June 17, the committee decided to recommend Burgess to the National Assembly to fill the position.

In a report to Parliament sent out on Friday, the committee said: “The Committee met on 17 June 2015 to deliberate on the outcome of interviews and to nominate a candidate for filing the vacant position of the Inspector General of Intelligence. After deliberations, the committee nominated Mr Cecil Valentine Burgess to the National Assembly to recommend to the President for appointment.”   From the start of the shortlisting process in February, Burgess was seen as the front runner for the position, and if the president approves his nomination, he will be expected to protect South African citizens from any abuse of State Security Agency powers.

During his interview for the position, he told the committee that the inspector general had a constitutional obligation to be impartial.

“People have got to respect you. There are certain things you cannot do in this job, for example, making speeches that are political.
Those speeches will give the impression that you are not impartial.

“This is a different job to being a politician. I have been a lawyer for many years and I have always been guided not by my politics but by the law society and this is an ethical code that all legal practitioners have to abide by. It’s a code of being honest and behaving in a manner that doesn’t bring disrepute,” Burgess said at the time.

In addition to chairing the intelligence committee in Parliament, Burgess was also appointed to the ad hoc committee that looked into the spending of taxpayers’ money on upgrading Zuma’s private Nkandla home. That committee saw no wrong on Zuma’s part or how he benefited from the upgrades.

Burgess also led an ad hoc committee of Parliament that adopted the controversial Protection of State Information Bill.

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