CAPE TOWN, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday urged the State Security Agency (SSA) to desist from politicking and become a professional civilian intelligence service.
"We want you to do things correctly, in terms of the law and corporate governance, without a deviant agenda," the president said during a visit to the SSA headquarters in Pretoria.
The SSA should become a professional civilian intelligence service of which the country could be proud of in the knowledge that South Africa was fully secured, said Ramaphosa.
The SSA is tasked with providing the government with intelligence on domestic and foreign threats or potential threats to national stability, the constitutional order, and the safety and well-being of South Africans.
However, SSA leaders reportedly have been embroiled in political matters that have taken attention away from dealing with serious work against crime. The fact that there is also no accountability further entrenches the bad level of services.
In 2018, Ramaphosa appointed a high-level panel to review the intelligence services.
The panel has produced a report that identifies challenges such as low staff morale, unprofessional and unethical conduct, leadership instability and corporate governance weaknesses, including procurement violations and difficulties associated with the amalgamation several years ago of domestic and foreign intelligence gathering services.
Addressing SSA staff members, Ramaphosa said the report would be published in due course for the benefit of all South Africans, including members of the national intelligence service.
The report spelt out a way forward towards the rebuilding of an SSA that would be revamped, renewed and recommitted, said Ramaphosa.
The SSA's recent past was "unfortunate" and there would be accountability for the wrongs that had occurred within the intelligence services, Ramaphosa said.
He called on the SSA to recommit itself to serving the people of South Africa and adhering to the rule of law in support of the country's trajectory of renewal and growth.
The SSA staff should reposition their own dedication and commitment and should be ethical, committed, selfless and non-partisan in the execution of their duties, the president added.