South Africa’s spies are low-skilled and leak information: report

South African spies leak information and the country’s intelligence community is in a shambles, according to an oversight report tabled in parliament.

The Sunday Times reported that “low skills levels, qualified audit opinions, and an appetite for further intrusion into the lives of citizens” were the standout findings of the joint standing committee on intelligence’s report.

The annual report also found that intelligence services are concerned about the loss of skilled staff at defence agencies, and the “large-scale employment of foreign nationals by government and academic institutions”.

Other findings of the report included:

  • Desire to tighten monitoring and control of private landing strips.
  • Intelligence operatives believe the risks attached to foreign missions recruiting South Africans for strategic positions must be assessed.
  • The State Security Agency is awaiting promulgation of the Protection of State Information Bill to establish appropriate standards for securing classified information.
  • Security agencies plan to act on allegations that South African border officials are corrupt.
  • Possible specialised training of South African security agency staff in Russia and Cuba is strongly mooted.
  • Information leaks from security agencies pose a challenge.

The report also stated that the inspecting judge for cellphone interceptions, Yvonne Mokgoro, granted 387 requests for the interception of electronic communication, and refused five.

The full report is available in the Sunday Times – 31 January 2016.

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South Africa’s spies are low-skilled and leak information: report