No more unchecked spy secrecy – Appoint a watchdog as Inspector-General!
In 2016, the saga of the empty watchdog office continues: Parliament’s intelligence committee has denied that President Zuma urged MPs to support Cecil Burgess to become the next Inspector General of Intelligence.
This key watchdog role, tasked with protecting the public against illegal surveillance, has been vacant for ten months.
This is not the first report of executive lobbying to get Mr Burgess appointed to the job. In December it was reported that Minister of State Security had also lobbied MPs to vote for Cecil Burgess.
As Burgess lacks the two-thirds majority needed to be Parliament’s candidate for Inspector General, the vote has been delayed and delayed as the ANC lobbies opposition parties to change their vote.
Parliament’s unprecedented ten-month delay in nominating an Inspector General provides fertile ground for political interference, while leaving the public without a protector against the spies. R2K has already documented how complaints at the Inspector General’s office are stacking up, as citizens try in vain to open investigations of illegal surveillance and abuse of power in the intelligence structures.
We demand an impartial candidate for this role. We demand an Inspector General who will protect citizens from abuses of the spies.
We demand an end to the delays. This matter must be brought to a vote as the first order of business when Parliament re-opens in February. The intelligence committee must remember that its duties are to the citizens and not to the executive.