Calls made for wrongdoing at SSA to be punished

Critics of former president Jacob Zuma and his administration say they are not surprised they were monitored by the State Security Agency. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Critics of former president Jacob Zuma and his administration say they are not surprised they were monitored by the State Security Agency. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Civil society groups that were outspoken against the Jacob Zuma-led administration appear not surprised that they were allegedly spied on by the State Security Agency (SSA).

A damning high-level review panel report on the SSA revealed there was “active monitoring” of the organisations Right2Know, Save South Africa, Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), Green Peace and South Africa First.

“Obviously, we’re concerned about the clear breach of legislative mandate by SSA but it is not surprising given we were confronting the Zuma-led government. We hope appropriate action will be taken against those responsible,” said Lawson Naidoo, Casac’s executive director.

Sipho Pityana, the founder of Save South Africa, was similarly unsurprised.

“These revelations confirm what we always suspected, that instead of focusing on real threats to the nation’s security, the former president’s spies were trying to destabilise legal, law-abiding organisations which respected the Constitution, were totally legitimate and had South Africa’s interests at heart,” he said.

“Special Operations was essentially a rogue intelligence unit that was trying to prop up Zuma at a time when there was a growing societal and political realisation that he himself was the greatest threat to our sovereignty because of his nefarious relationships with the Gupta family and the state capture project.”

Pityana said they were “conscious at the time of attempts to subvert our activities, whether it was physical attacks on our members, the intimidation of some of the campaign leaders, or attempts to subvert our gatherings,” he said. “Now we know who was behind it.”

He furthered urged for the law to take its course and for the urgent processing of the findings into criminal dockets “starting with Zuma and extending to all political and administrative leaders who are implicated in the panel’s report”.

“The Special Operations agents have been found by a presidential panel to have committed illegal activities.
They must be identified so that they can be pursued through the courts. They should not enjoy any privilege, protection or anonymity. We have a right to know who the spies are as well as their handlers,” Pityana said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has called for the “immediate suspension from public services of all those implicated”.

“Criminal charges must also be laid with the [South African Police Service] SAPS to finally bring to book those who have looted the SSA for the nefarious ends of ex-president Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and their corrupt cronies.” — News24

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