Cape Town – Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI) has dismissed reports that President Jacob Zuma personally intervened and forcefully used his influence to appoint the inspector general of the department.
Chairperson of the oversight committee Connie September Connie September said yesterday [Monday] that the body rejected that Zuma had “applied pressure in support of Cecil Burgess as the candidate for the inspector general position”.
Burgess’ nomination came under fire as he was the ANC MP who stewarded the secrecy bill through parliament.
“We distance ourselves from such sources who misrepresented the deliberations of the meeting, and misrepresented what the President said or did,” September said.
“We are reminded that the JSCI has completed its legislative obligation of interviewing candidates and has tabled a report for consideration to the National Assembly that includes the recommendation of Cecil Burgess. The Programming Committee of Parliament is currently seized with this.”
September said it was “malicious” to suggest that Zuma had used any force or influence to back Burgess as a candidate.
In terms of the Joint Rules and Intelligence Oversight Act all meetings are closed.
September said this meant that discussions were confidential or no member could provide information to outsiders on issues discussed.
“This matter of a possible breach of confidentiality will therefore be tabled before the JSCI at its earliest convenience for decision and consideration.
“The Intelligence Oversight Act empowers the committee to ask any cabinet member to appear before them and this request we put to the President as well. We extend our appreciation to President Zuma for always availing himself to make time in his busy schedule to meet with the JSCI,” September said.