Failure to deal with rising poverty poses a threat to national security and could lead to unrest like last July.
This warning was carried by Presidency Minister Mondli Gungubele , pronounced during the State Security Agency’s budget vote on Tuesday.
Gungubele said unemployment, inequality, poverty and corruption were the underlying causes of some of the crimes the country was witnessing.
These Alongside gangs, the influx of illegal immigrants, which often led to violent confrontations with locals over resources, the destruction of critical economic infrastructure and general lawlessness were a “ticking time bomb” that must not be allowed to explode.
“It is clear that such a situation is unsustainable for the future viability of our country and our democracy,” said Gungubele. “The state and government as a whole must make every effort to implement the economic reconstruction and recovery program along with other government interventions to transform our economy and improve the lives of our people.”
He said that failure Lifting South Africans, particularly the youth, out of poverty and unemployment could lead to yet another version of the riots of last July that left more than 300 dead.
“If we don’t take care of it With these immediate challenges, we risk being exposed again to the unfortunate events of July, and nobody wants to see such upheaval in our country ever again.
“We therefore need a solid, government-led program with our social partners and the citizens of our country as a whole to find solutions and rid our country of the monster of poverty and inequality.” Gungubele said.
These and others created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity that contradicts Article 198 of the Constitution on national security, he added.
“If nothing is done, to change the situation we will reach the deepest level of devastation from which it will be difficult to recover. For this reason, the centrality and position of our civilian intelligence agency must be strengthened to strengthen the vital relationship between people and state and to defend our hard-won democratic gains,” he said.
To fulfill their national security mandate , Gungubele said, the State Security Agency held a budget vote focused on plans to strengthen its capabilities by retraining and revitalizing its workforce to better deliver services and reposition SSA to be a trusted guardian of national security.
Gungubele admitted that progress in implementing the High Level Review Panel’s recommendations has been slow. The panel identified many areas that required immediate attention in the governance of SSA.
One such area was the level of secrecy under which SSA operated, which among other things led to the theft of government resources within the agency. He said they have worked around the clock for the past two years to uncover corruption and wrongdoing at the agency, resulting in the arrests and convictions of a number of people.
“During the past fiscal year, we completed 11 disciplinary cases and this year we have already closed three of them. Nine disciplinary investigations or hearings are ongoing and we hope to complete them before the end of the quarter. Much work remains to be done, including following up on the issues raised by the Zondo Commission evidence,” Gungubele said we continue to cast the net in our efforts to hold people accountable. Forensic investigators (Lekwa Forensic Services) are now investigating 26 cases within the agency. We are also encouraged by the work being done by our forensic investigative capacity and are determined that we will be successful in this regard.
“This fiscal year, we will increase resources to fight corruption , including strengthening partnerships with fellow law enforcement agencies. Our march towards a clean, accountable and corruption-free SSA is relentless and we are confident that we will regain our status as the guardian of national security in this country.”
Gungubele told parliament that the bill would will do to enable the establishment of a domestic branch of the SSA to focus on counterintelligence and domestic intelligence has been completed and is expected to be presented to Parliament in September.
The General Intelligence Act Amendment Act will be the Establishment giving way to a foreign service focused on intelligence gathering and the reestablishment of the South African National Academy of Intelligence to focus on intelligence training as a critical element of skill development and capacity building.