Spy services threaten South African democracy, warns researcher

Laurie Nathan

Laurie Nathan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A former member of South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence has warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in South Africa’s spy services is threatening the country’s constitutional order. Laurie Nathan, who is currently a research fellow at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics, has written an article for Chatham House’s The World Today magazine, in which he summarizes the results of the Commission’s a study into the South African intelligence services. According to Nathan, the study found a “striking absence of executive policy on many critical intelligence issues” and “major weaknesses in control and oversight systems” of intelligence practices. Furthermore, Nathan suggests that the “chronic obsession with secrecy” that plagues the country’s intelligence community has hampered proper accountability in the post-apartheid era, and that the transformation of the intelligence services into law-abiding agencies is “far from complete” under the leadership of the African National Congress. Nathan’s article is available here (.pdf). The report by South Africa’s Review Commission on Intelligence is available here.

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