Are South Africa's Intelligence Services shrouded in mystery and something to be feared? Not at all, says Advocate Faith Doreen Radebe, Inspector General for Intelligence, who has been appointed by the President to independently oversee the activities of the Intelligence Services.
To dispel myths of secrecy and to strengthen civilian check on the work of South Africa’s Intelligence Services, the Office of the Inspector General for Intelligence has set up a website to reach out to the wider public.
The new website provides members of the public with information on how to lodge a complaint and provides full details of how a complaint is dealt with until completion.
South Africa’s Intelligence Services include the State Security Agency, also known as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the South African Secret Service (SASS), the Intelligence Division of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans and the Intelligence Division of the South African Police Service.
The Inspector-General monitors and reviews the activities of the Intelligence Services and also investigates complaints received from the public and members of the Intelligence Services on alleged maladministration, abuse of power and transgressions of laws.
Abuse of power may include things like unlawfully tapping (listening in on private conversations) of a member of the public’s cellphone or landline or improper enrichment by a member of the Intelligence Services.
The new website, in addition to facilities to lodge a complaint, also contains useful information on the mandate and functions of the Office of the Inspector General, as well as information relating to overseeing structures, both locally and internationally.
Speaking at the launch of the website, Adv Radebe said the website was a clear demonstration of her office’s commitment to providing a quality service and educating the wider public about the mandate of the Inspector-General and what was meant by “intelligence oversight”.
Adv Radebe added that the website was particularly important given the fact that to the wider public, intelligence services were often associated with secrecy and mystery and therefore seen as something to be feared.
Adv Radebe assured South Africans that through intelligence oversight their rights would be protected and that the Intelligence Services would operate within the values of the Constitution.