The Ad Hoc Committee on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill today continued with the second leg of the public hearings in the Western Cape. Today, approximately 170 members of the public attended the public hearings at the Belthorn Recreation Centre in Athlone.
During their oral submissions, some residents asked that clear definitions be included, especially on national security, threat to national security, security competency test, and opportunity or potential opportunity in the Bill. Members of the public said that these definitions are vague, too broad and do not provide sufficient clarity to ensure that state intelligence services operate within their Constitutional mandate.
Some residents also raised concerns that the Bill fails to provide the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) with the independence required to conduct oversight over the intelligence services. Some said that the IGI’s recommendations should be legally binding and that legislation about vetting, vetting oversight and appeals be strengthened.
There were members of the public who also raised concerns about the enhancement of the State Security Agency’s powers of mass surveillance through the National Communications Centre, particularly after the Constitutional Court’s judgement that ordered changes to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act 70 of 2002 (RICA) to ensure bulk surveillance is regulated.
The committee is grateful to the citizens of the Cape Town Metro for their inputs on the Bill. This weekend, the committee will continue with public hearings in KwaZulu-Natal.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.