Durban - Mava Scott, the spokesperson for the new head of the State Security Agency (SSA), Mondli Gungubele, said that Gungubele will be able to properly perform this role along with his duties as Minister in the Presidency.
IOL on Wednesday had asked Gungubele’s SSA office whether he would be able to act decisively given his dual function.
This was in the context of the civil unrest in July last year, when the country’s intelligence structures failed to calm to the chaos, according to high-ranking police testimonies given during the SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) hearing into the matter.
Scott told IOL that Gungubele had assumed the role out of political responsibility and that the actual work of intelligence is done by officials within the ranks.
“The role of the minister in intelligence is to assume control and direction in terms of the Constitution. But in essence, ministers of Intelligence are in charge of direction. The actual work of intelligence is done by officials.
“The fact that he is doing dual roles is neither here nor there. He has assumed political responsibility for intelligence, but the actual work is done by intelligence officers who are, of course, accountable to him as the political head,” Scott said.
Scott was also responding to allegations made by EFF leader Julius Malema, who suggested that Gungubele was appointed head of the SSA to siphon public funds for the ANC to host its next elective conference.
Malema based his allegations on testimony given during the Zondo Commission into state capture.
“In the commission, there is a spy that says we carried cash from the SSA to the Nasrec slush fund," Malema said.
When the civil unrest broke out in July after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma, state intelligence did not have the necessary information available to prevent the violence and destruction, Police Minister Bheki Cele and KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi revealed.
Cele indicated during his testimony at the SAHRC hearings last year that there was a disconnect between police and intelligence during the unrest.
The minister also made mention of a secret fund that was looted.
“I hear that Khan, General Khan, is acting as the head of intelligence. I don't know, I did not sign that. Now I try to find out from the commissioner (Khehla Sitole). He explains to say ’no, it was not acting, it was a part of acting’.
“What is a part of acting? Sign some things and not some things. And the guy has signed a long list of things (Khan). This is half a billion we are talking about. It is called a secret fund. It is very difficult to be accounted for,” Cele said.
SSA is in charge of overall civilian intelligence operations, which could be anything from foreign to domestic threats. SAPS crime intelligence is tasked with gathering intelligence for crimes within the country.
Gungubele had assumed his new role as head of the SSA after President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the portfolio under the guidance of the Office of the Presidency.
This came after the Ministry for State Security was scrapped by Ramaphosa during a cabinet reshuffle in August last year.