Science and technology minister spied on by hidden cameras

Science and technology minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has filed a complaint with the State Security Agency (SSA) after cameras were found in her office, the Sunday Times reports.

Police found multiple cameras which could record both video and sound, and could be accessed remotely.

The cameras were were reportedly placed within the minister’s boardroom, records room, and office.

According to the report, the cameras were discovered when senior managers confronted junior staff about discussions they had with the minister in her office.

Kubayi-Ngubane received a memo from department officials regarding the cameras, which stated that they were installed after a security breach in April 2018.

The memo stated that while the cameras can record audio, this function has not been activated.

Spying on matters of state

Kubayi-Ngubane told the Sunday Times she was not happy with this explanation. “You can’t have cameras that listen to what I say when I meet people,” she said.

A private company or citizen accessing these cameras remotely and monitoring them would have had unauthorised access to matters of state.

According to the minister, if someone was able to access the audio recording feature of the camera in her office, they would also be able to listen to her phone calls with the president.

Reports of spying on government officials is nothing new, with a rogue SARS unit reportedly spending R800,000 on concealed cameras which could be remotely-monitored in 2015.

This operation was allegedly set up to spy on and monitor senior NPA members investigating former police chief Jackie Selebi.

The rogue SARS unit was previously reported to have used a surveillance software suite known as FinFisher to spy on the computer activities of its targets.

Kubayi-Ngubane’s recent work includes a proposal which would see maths and science graduates complete compulsory community service.

This aims to improve the quality of teachers at South African schools, and would reward participants with a stipend for their compulsory service.

Now read: SITA launches new government cloud infrastructure for South Africa

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Science and technology minister spied on by hidden cameras