President releases SSA review panel report

Sunday, March 10, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the publication of the High Level Review Panel report on the State Security Agency (SSA), which has assessed the mandate, capacity and organisational integrity of the agency.

The review panel was appointed in June 2018 to assess the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and enquire into its systems and capacity.

The panel was chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi and included nine other members with a wide range of senior level experience and expertise in law, security studies, civil society, academia, the intelligence and security community and other arms of government.

President Ramaphosa asked the panel to identify all material factors that contributed to current challenges in the SSA, so that appropriate measures could be instituted to prevent a recurrence.

The main objective of the review panel was to assist in ensuring a responsible and accountable national intelligence capability for the country in line with the Constitution and relevant legislation.

Among the key finding of the panel included political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts.

The panel proposed, amongst others, an urgent development of a National Security Strategy as an overriding basis for redefining and refining the concepts, values, policies, practices and architecture involved in South Africa’s approach to security.

It also proposed that SSA should be separated into two services, a domestic and a foreign service, with prudent delineation of scope.

With regard to investigations and consequences, the panel recommended that the President instruct the appropriate law enforcement bodies, oversight institutions and internal disciplinary bodies to investigate all manifest breaches of the law, regulations and other prescripts in the SSA, with a view to instituting, where appropriate, criminal prosecution and/or disciplinary proceedings.

The Presidency has shared the report with a range of stakeholders, including State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, and Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.

“At a gathering with SSA leadership and staff in Pretoria on 15 February 2019, the President gave an undertaking that the report of the review panel would be published for the benefit of all South Africans, including the intelligence community. The report would also be the subject of engagement with Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and the Auditor-General.

“President Ramaphosa has expressed his appreciation for the panel’s dedication to their task and for producing insights and recommendations that will enable open engagement on the role and character of the intelligence community in support of South Africa’s national development objectives and international relations,” the Presidency said.

The report has been redacted for public consumption in view of the fact that the full report contains the names and identities of persons who cannot be named at this point, as well as details of operational matters that would compromise SSA work.

A redacted version of the High Level Review Panel on the State Security Agency has been declassified and can be viewed at -