Address by the Honourable Deputy Minister in the Presidency, responsible for State Security, Mr. Zizi Kodwa, on the occasion of the 2022/23 Budget Vote debate, in Parliament, Cape Town
THEME: NATIONAL SECURITY IS THE PATRIOTIC DUTY AND RESPONSIBILTY OF THE STATE AND THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC.
Honourable Chairperson and Honourable Members
Chairperson and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence
Honourable Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele
NICOC Coordinator Ambassador Msimang
Director General of the State Security Agency, Ambassador Majola
Veterans of the Intelligence Services
Fellow South Africans
Let me also take this opportunity to thank this house for affording us the space to present our budget policy statement for the financial year
2022/23. The Minister has already given a broad overview of the state of National Security in the country and what our posture should be as the State Security Agency.
However, before I expand on these broad issues, I want to begin this address by condemning in the strongest terms, the pandemic of Gender Based Violence which has become another threat to our National Security. The extent of abuse and gruesome murders of women and children in this country cannot be tolerated and requires all of us in government, civil society and citizens in general to work together to uproot this scourge. The unspeakable act of violence and abuse against Namhla Mtwa from Umtata, as a case in point, is something that our society should never allow.
The other important issue that our Democratic Society must deal with decisively is this phenomenon of racial polarisation which continues to rear its ugly head across all sectors of our society. We chose to adopt a Constitutional Democracy because we wanted to build a cohesive and prosperous nation, free of discrimination and prejudice.
We cannot abandon that noble objective for the simple reason that our Constitution enjoins us to “heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. Racial intolerance and prejudice must be fought and eradicated because it is a cancer that stifles instead of building a prosperous nation.
Honourable Members, let us then deal and amplify a few issues that should inform the agenda of the Agency as espoused by the Minister. It is true that the High Level Review Panel on State Security Agency has decried the issue of excessive secrecy and that we should adopt a mind shift that is more accessible, open and responsive to the needs of the public.
Inspired by our founding values of accountability, responsiveness and openness, our constitution guarantees the rights of everyone to access to information and essentially, the right to know. This places a fundamental responsibility on the Agency to be transparent, accountable and responsive to the public whilst safeguarding the basic tenet of secrecy as an intelligence outfit.
As such, we will be engaging on a large scale program of public engagements and outreach with a variety of stakeholders both within and outside the security establishment to share ideas about the state of our national security. As the Minister mentioned earlier, the process to finalize the National Security Policy and National Security Strategy is at an advanced stage and shortly both these strategic documents will require an input from the members of the public.
We will kick-start that public consultation process without delay and that should be a springboard for our quest to create a people centric environment towards giving intelligence a human face. We will return to this house, through the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence to present our comprehensive program of public awareness and stakeholder engagements.
THE CENTRALITY OF NICOC IN THE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
The other important matter that the Minister highlighted was the concern raised by the expert panel which probed the circumstances that led to the July unrest that erupted in Kwa Zulu Natal and parts of Gauteng. This relates to the centrality of the role that the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC) plays in the early warning system of our intelligence environment. The report has noted with a great deal of concern that despite NICOC’s warning through the National Intelligence Estimates and the National Intelligence Priorities, the entirety of government seems not to be responsive to these alerts.
In this regard, we would like to impress on Honourable Members and the rest of government to heed the warnings and calls from NICOC to attend to the issues as contained in the National Intelligence Estimates and the National Intelligence Priorities. This includes human security challenges and general service delivery matters that the people constantly cry for.
If we must avoid a recurrence of the incidents of July and other potential upheavals into the future, we have no choice but to focus seriously on what the NICOC is directing us to do. Prof Sandy Africa’s Panel Report was right, had we taken time to address the issues that were identified by NICOC in its early warning systems, we would probably have avoided most of these conflicts and upheavals as we have seen in July and elsewhere. The growing levels of poverty, inequality, lack of service delivery and social tensions which have been aptly identified in this report were all underscored in the National Intelligence Estimates and National Intelligence Priorities.
NATIONAL SECURITY AS A FUNDAMENTAL PILLAR OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
Honourable Members, we are concerned about the state of our National Security in the country and yes, we need a renewed focus and vigour to deal with this pervasive atmosphere of chaos and wanton disregard for the law. We are redoubling our efforts together with our relevant law enforcement agencies to combat these mindless acts of violence, economic sabotage and lawlessness. The destruction and sabotage of critical infrastructure and National Key Points, including the cable theft and mindless targeting and torching of State Institutions must come to an end now.
Perhaps Honourable Members we need to go back to basics and recite our fundamental values as a country as espoused in our founding document which is the Constitution of the Republic. Section 198(a) provides that “National Security must reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals, to live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life.”
Section 9(2) of the Constitution provides that “Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.”
This is what guides our National Security Policy, which seeks to achieve a National Security framework that is consistent with the Constitution and with a specific focus on Human Security as a priority National Security Agenda. As required by the Constitution the policy proposes measures that would enable the achievement of a national security framework which gives effect to the constitutional imperatives that we have mentioned which includes among others:
- Measures that seek promote South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals and to live in peace and harmony.
- Measures that seek to enable South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to be free from fear and want;
- Measures that seek to promote South Africans, as individuals and a nation, to seek a better life.
In this regard Honourable Members, we need to use our National Security Policy to craft interventions focusing among others on:
- The role of the National Security structures in Countering Corruption within Government and Organs of State.
- Measures to clarify the role of National Security agencies in the delivery of the basic social services to all South Africans with specific focus on social services directed to the poorest of the poor.
- Measures to Counter Organised Crime and Threats to National Security.
- Measures to promote the security of critical infrastructures/systems of the State that are the backbone of the provision of critical and essential social services
- Measures and the role of the National Security structures in youth development and employment opportunities, National Service and programs intended to promote empowerment inclusion and participation in particular in relation to city and rural economies.
- Measures that seek to promote our foreign policy initiatives as an instrument to advance national security agenda.
- Measures to promote cooperation by all National security structures in the pursuit of the envisaged National security agenda.
- Measures directed at preventing Gender Based Violence as a national security focus.
- Measures aimed at promoting Public and Private Partnership in the pursuit of the National Security Agenda envisaged in the Constitution.
- Measures aimed at promoting environmental, natural resources (including oceans) and energy security;
- Measures aimed at countering organised crime and threats to national security;
We have to do all of these things Honourable Members to achieve our Constitutional obligation which is to safeguard the safety of our citizens and the territorial integrity of the Republic.
I must conclude by reflecting on another important issue and focus area of our State Security Agency which is counter terrorism. The threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters moving across continents, an increased terrorism footprint on the African continent, an increased terror threat in the SADC region, as well as notable challenges posed in countering terrorism financing links, in addition to an elevated national terror threat level requires a rethinking of the country’s counter terrorism measures and architecture.
The reports about the alleged criminal underworld and the financing of terror groups in the country emanates from this reality. To restore the territorial integrity of our country and guarantee our National Security, we must leave no stone unturned in combating these acts of organised crime.
We are equally concerned about the current activities of various pressure groups which do not augur well with the government’s initiatives especially in relation to the thorny issues of migration. It is not that the people should not express their dissatisfaction with the level of service they receive. However, it is the manner in which such grievances are raised, often outside the ambit of the law. It is important that we rebuild the trust with people to ensure constant cooperation.
Once again, we need to instil it in our minds and everyday life that National Security is a patriotic duty and responsibility of the State working with the citizens of the Republic as a whole.