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Debate on the State Security Budget Vote by Deputy Minister of State Security, 18 May 2018, Parliament, Cape Town

Honourable Chairperson of the Session

Minister of the State Security

Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present

Chairperson and members of the Joint Standing

Committee on intelligence

Acting Director-General of SSA and members

Intelligence veterans

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Fellow South Africans

Introduction

Chairperson, at the inception of this administration, we undertook to engage with our young people in high schools, to enlighten them about the work that we do, with a hope to planting the seed for some of them to join the intelligence community after completing their matric and junior degrees. This programme is premised on the need to infuse within our agency, young talented people with relevant skills that are aligned to the vision of a risk management entity of government, namely State Security Agency which is operating in a rapidly changing global environment in order to promote South Africa's national interest.

In this instance, Chairperson allow me to acknowledge the presence of two students in the gallery who are beneficiaries of the bursary programme and have graduated this year, 2018. These young women are Ms Mpho Khati of the University of Free State who studied a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Criminology and Sociology; and Ms Ayanda Gumede from the University of KwaZulu-Natal who is a graduate of a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Media and Political Science. May they please rise.

Allow me Chairperson to also acknowledge the presence in our midst, of Mr Zev Krengel; Vice Chairperson of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. Thank you comrade for honouring us again with your presence.

We are all aware that our Muslim community is currently observing Ramadan. I want to welcome Mr Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams and Mrs Abrahams for gracing this budget vote during Ramadan greatly appreciated.

Chairperson, Honourable members, and distinguished guests, at the outset the President of the Republic, HE President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa pronounced that this year we celebrate the centenary of our late former President Nelson MANDELA and Mama Albertina SISULU. These two giants of our struggle for liberation and freedom have contributed immensely to the attainment of the constitutional democracy we enjoy today. The values for which they believed in continue to inspire us to this day, as we embark on a journey to a new dawn.

To this end Chairperson, we remain fully seized with upholding the vision and values of these two South African icons, and therefore recommit ourselves to building good relations with countries of SADC, Africa and the rest of the world.

This repositioning and reengineering is occasioned by what the Commander in Chief, His Excellency President Ramaphosa spoke of during a question and answer session in Parliament on the 8th of May 2018 when he said, and I quote: "I will shortly be setting up a review panel to assess the structure of the agency relative to its mandate, and inquire into its systems and capacity. I have also instructed the Minister of State Security to take the necessary steps to attend to all governance and operational challenges confronting the agency and to work to restore the public confidence in this entire institution". In this regard, we stand ready to work and cooperate with the Panel as we seek to ensure that it assists us in dealing with the challenges going forward.

In our commitment to ensuring good governance, as the political leadership of this organization, our resolve is to ensure that we do not allow the culture of impunity to prevail. Similarly, we commit to hold accountable all those who exercise power and responsibility in the Agency.

Cyber Security

Honourable Chairperson on cyber security, we will continue to build the capacity of the state to withstand cyber-attacks. Recently, we saw reports about how hackers were able to steal millions of Pounds from Spanish banks, in a cyber-attack that targeted the country's central bank and financial institutions.

In this regard, we will introduce uniform ICT security governance and risk assessment measures across government, whilst continuing to monitor and respond effectively to cyber security incidents.

We will also continue to invest in research and development as we build and strengthen relationships with our international partners in relation to improving our ability to effectively detect and respond to cyber threat.

Considering that we are at Cyber security Bill stage, South Africa will have to decide as to whether we will follow in the footsteps of some of our sister countries in Africa who are ahead on matters of cyber security.

"According to an article written by Matshelane Mamabalo on the 16 May 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law cybercrimes Bill. The Act spells out stiff punishment to cyber criminals and provides for:

Timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.
The legislation covers a range of offences including unauthorised access, interception, disclosure of passwords, cyber espionage, false publication, cyber terrorism.

The Act apparently also deals with computer forgery, computer fraud, cyber harassment, publication of false information, cybersquatting, identity theft and impersonation, phishing, interception of electronic messages or money transfers, wilful misdirection of electronic messages and fraudulent use of electronic data among other cybercrimes".

Terrorism and extremism

Chairperson, as part of our responsibility in terms of our mandate is to ensure conditions of peace and stability in our country. This includes efforts we undertake in combatting terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations. As it is a task and challenge that we cannot accomplish alone, working in partnership with other security cluster members both at home and abroad will enable us to achieve sustainable shared outcomes. We will continue to ensure that this remains a high priority and that we improve our understanding of this evolving phenomenon, its detection, investigation and combatting. We wish to assure South Africans that our democracy remains strong and our country is relatively stable.

Building Organisational Capacity

Honourable Chairperson, we are the "guardians of peace, democracy and the defenders of our constitution", we in SSA will not deviate from what the Constitution enjoins us to do as stipulated in Section 199(5) "the security services must act, and must teach and require their members to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law, including customary international law and international agreements binding on the Republic".

Over the past two years we have made strides in addressing the challenges of our ageing organisation as alluded to during my introduction.

Our training curriculum, the organisational culture and ethos will be infused with the values of our stalwarts such as Ma Sisulu and President Nelson Mandela.

Intelligence Service Medals

The security challenges facing our country are complex, and as such require intelligence professionals with strategic agility to respond effectively and seamlessly in the identification and countering of threats.

Last year we conferred meritorious medals of excellence to intelligence officers who performed above expectation. We also dealt with the backlog of long term medals for intelligence officers who served for 10, 20 and 30 years in the organisation.

Conclusion

Allow me to conclude by expressing unqualified gratitude to the Minister and the Ministry staff for their unwavering support. I also wish to thank my family for their patience, understanding and support. It is greatly appreciated.

The African National Congress supports the Budget Vote.

Ke leboga go menagane

     
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