OPINION

Leaky DA MPs should be axed from JSCI - Office of ANC Chief Whip

Recently opposition members of committee spread falsehoods about meeting with President Zuma

Leaky DA MPs should be removed from the intelligence committee

20 January 2016

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip wishes to confirm its unqualified support for the decision of parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI) to investigate the leaking of confidential discussions of meetings allegedly by DA MPs who sit in that committee.

In their leaking of the committee's confidential discussions, the DA MPs spread malicious fabrications and disinformation in the media, thereby forcing the committee into an uncomfortable space of correcting the falsehoods publicly and openly discussing the confidential deliberations.

The business of the committee is conducted strictly under the joint rules and intelligence oversight act of 1994, which states that discussions within the committee are confidential and may not be divulged. Such parliamentary committees conduct their businesses privately anywhere in the world.

Recently, the DA spread falsehoods regarding the committee's meeting with the President, alleging that the President tried to unduly influence the process of the appointment of the inspector general of intelligence by Parliament. The committee, as part of its ordinary annual programme, meets the President once every quarter relating to the scope of its legislative mandate. Both the insinuations that the President summoned the committee and that he tried to push for a particular candidate are blatantly false.

The ever publicity thirsty DA MPs, who are vetted to deal with national security sensitive matters and have sworn to confidentiality in terms of the law, opportunistically exploited the media's lack of access to committee deliberations to deceive journalists with fabrications dressed as legitimate political concerns.

The conduct of the DA MPs is unacceptable as it undermines confidentiality they committed to uphold pertaining to discussions on national security matters. Their conduct further erodes the trust relationship that should exist amongst the committee members, as fellow MPs might henceforth find it uncomfortable discussing sensitive issues in the presence of such leaky colleagues.

We hope that such investigation would be conducted swiftly to ensure that the DA MPs are removed from the committee. The DA has a responsibility to deploy mature and responsible public representatives to a security sensitive committee such as the JSCI

Statement issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, 20 January 2016