The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said it would reject a renewed bid by the African National Congress (ANC) to get Parliament to approve the appointment of ruling party MP Cecil Burgess as inspector-general of intelligence.
The National Assembly is to vote on a report from Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence recommending the hawkish Burgess next week, after it was sent to the office of the ANC chief whip late on Thursday.
“Next week’s scheduled vote will be the ANC’s third attempt to have the report and recommendation passed, and the DA will do everything possible to block what will inevitably be the deployment of yet another ANC cadre mandated to aide President Zuma’s continued state capture campaign,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.
He said the ANC’s insistence on putting Burgess in the key watchdog post, despite objections from the opposition and civil society, had resulted in it being vacant for a year and oversight over the intelligence community becoming compromised.
“In that time we have witnessed an unprecedented amount of State Security Agency (SSA) activity in the public sphere – at protests and even on the parliamentary precinct.
“It is high time Parliament finalises the IGI appointment and ensures that it is done in transparent manner that leads to the appointment of an impartial candidate who will prioritise the principles of Constitution and keep our intelligence services accountable.”
The DA has called for the law to be amended to ensure that the post is filled by a retired judge.
Steenhuisen added: “Burgess, however, has a proven track record of not being impartial or independent, and in fact has performed his duties in the past with favour, and indeed fervour, for the ruling party and President Jacob Zuma, and as such, is simply an unacceptable candidate.”
Burgess chaired the ad hoc committee that steered the bitterly contested Protection of State Information Bill through Parliament.[Source: African News Agency]