Spies Threaten Democracy

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					THEWORLDTODAY.ORG AUG-SEPT 2009
PAGE 26
          INTELLIGENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA
          Laurie Nathan, RESEARCH FELLOW, UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN AND THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS. IN 2006-2008 HE SERVED ON THE MINIS

          Is South Africa’s much-vaunted
          constitutional democracy under
          threat from elements in the
          intelligence services? Is the
          political system being
          manipulated through illegal
          spying and disclosure of
          intercepted information to favour
          some political figures and
          factions to the prejudice of
          others? Are Pretoria’s spies under
          control? And do they consider
          themselves bound by the law, or
          at liberty to operate above it?




          Spies Threaten D
                                 i         N THE FIRST DECADE AFTER THE BIRTH OF
                                            South Africa’s democracy in 1994, it
                                            seemed as if the intelligence services
                                            had undergone a democratic
                                            transformation. The public could not
                                            gauge their effectiveness, but the
                                   services appeared to be abiding by the rules set
                                   out in the law and the constitution. Since 2005,
                                   however, the country has been rocked by a
                                   succession of shocking disclosures that have
                                   dispelled this comforting perception and
                                                                                      the NIA, and asked the Inspector-General
                                                                                      of Intelligence to investigate. He found that
                                                                                      Masetlha had unlawfully instigated
                                                                                      surveillance and eavesdropping on ruling
                                                                                      party and opposition politicians, some of
                                                                                      them members of parliament.


                                                                                      MISCHIEF
                                                                                         The mischief had its roots in Project
                                                                                      Avani, an intelligence assessment initiated by
                                   evoked fears of a return to the manipulation       the Cabinet to assess the impact of the ANC’s
                                   and abuses of the apartheid spies.                 presidential succession battle on the stability
                                      In 2005, a senior member of the ruling          of the country. Through this project Masetlha
                                   African National Congress (ANC) complained         had ostensibly intercepted emails from
                                   to the Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie            high-profile political figures purportedly
                                   Kasrils, that he was under surveillance by         conspiring to thwart Jacob Zuma’s bid to
                                   National Intelligence Agency (NIA) operatives.     become ANC president.
                                   Kasrils 
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The public could not gauge their effectiveness, but the services appeared to be abiding by the rules set out in the law and the constitution. Since 2005, however, the country has been rocked by a succession of shocking disclosures that have dispelled this comforting perception and evoked fears of a return to the manipulation and abuses of the apartheid spies.
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