The State Security Agency (SSA) appears to have spied on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) employees without the required permission from a judge.
Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha revealed in a written reply to a question in Parliament on Tuesday that designated judge Yvonne Mokgoro‚ in terms of the Regulation of Interceptions of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act‚ did not recall granting permission to the SABC and SSA to intercept the communications of any employee.
This comes after evidence revealed that the SSA investigated certain SABC staff members after they allegedly leaked information about the public broadcaster.
This was revealed during a recent parliamentary inquiry into the SABC.
“Judge Makgoro has informed me that she has not‚ to the best of her recollection‚ authorised the State Security Agency to intercept the communications of any individuals said to be working for the South African Broadcasting Corporation during the periods mentioned‚” said Masutha.
He was responding to a question from DA MP Mike Waters who asked if Judge Mokgoro authorised the SSA to intercept the communications of any individuals who worked for the SABC in the last two financial years.
“The Honourable Member should note that Judge Yvonne Mokgoro was indeed the designated judge during 2014/15‚ 2015/16 financial years until May 31‚ 2016‚ appointed in terms of the Regulation of Interceptions of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act‚ 70 of 2002 (RICA)‚” Masutha confirmed.
Waters said the DA would write to the Inspector General of Intelligence‚ Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe‚ to request that he conduct an investigation into the allegations made by SABC journalists that their communications were monitored and intercepted.
Former SABC general manager of labour relations‚ Madiwe Nkosi‚ told the parliamentary inquiry into the broadcaster that the SSA was asked to investigate former group executive of risk and governance‚ Itani Tseisi‚ for allegedly leaking information.
“If Judge Mokgoro did not authorise the alleged tapping‚ it is possible that it was done without authorisation‚ which is a criminal offence and must be treated with the seriousness it deserves‚” said Waters.
SSA spokesman Brian Dube had not responded to questions on the alleged communication interception earlier on Tuesday. — Tiso Black Star Group/The Times