Parliament’s re-vetting of officials has no relation to the rooting out of whistle-blowers, a spokesperson said on Sunday.
“Re-vetting is a normal and regular practice in government. Parliament’s security policy requires all employees to undergo vetting and all staff appointments are subject to positive security clearance,” a parliamentary spokesperson said in a statement.
This is in response to a report published in the Sunday Times in which it is alleged that Parliament has launched a campaign to clamp down on officials in a bid to “root out spies and whistle-blowers”.
This allegedly involves the State Security Agency and was initiated by Parliament’s secretary Gengezi Mgidlana.
According to Parliament’s statement, a vetting programme similar to the current process was undertaken in 2005.
“Parliament’s senior managers were again vetted in the fourth Parliament. As security clearance certificates are valid for 10 to 15 years, most certificates of staff have either expired or will expire this year.”
No complaints have been received from staff or the labour union about the process, the statement read.
According to the Sunday Times report, intelligence officers in a series of meetings also reportedly told parliamentary staff that certain NGOs, specifically Right2Know, were “known to be agents working for foreign governments”.
In a statement, R2K spokesperson Murray Hunter on Sunday said he “wholeheartedly condemns this latest sign of the securitisation of Parliament”. News24