South Africa's intelligence services are a mess, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils has said. In an interview with Business Day, Kasrils reportedly said the intelligence agencies have degenerated into "an absolute mess" that are used for political ends.
"The intelligence service has essentially been used to serve narrow political interests. And that's why it has gone down like a lead balloon and isn't carrying out the functions that the Constitution provides: the functions of dealing with real threats to the country. So the state is weakening and security in the country is weakening and questions of espionage threats intensify. It's just appalling, and I'm encouraged that the president is trying to address it," he reportedly said.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a task team to review the state of the intelligence agencies, News24 reported. The team will reportedly be led by safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi, and will consist of experts in the field like such as former spy boss Barry Gilder, Jane Duncan, Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Murray Michell, Basetsana Molebatsi, Siphokazi Magadla, Andre Pruis and Silumko Sokupa.
A source told HuffPost SA that mismanagement at the top levels of the SSA is said to be one of the main priorities, with a further focus on allegations of money disappearing through the cracks. The team will also prioritise the mandate of the agency and its structure to determine whether it is currently fit for purpose.
"Kasrils reportedly welcomed Ramaphosa's move but said it was important that the intelligence agencies are subject to more financial and operational oversight.
The SSA gets huge budgets from the government, yet the auditor-general is not able to properly monitor how that money is being spent, or evaluate if that spending is legal and above board," he reportedly said.