Agents of regime change implementing other countries’ nefarious agendas are operating in SA, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said on Tuesday.
“A number of governments are using underhand tactics in pursuit of their narrow national interest and national security; in the process destabilising a number of countries, like what happened in Libya, Brazil and now in Syria,” he told reporters at Parliament.
“During the past year, they continued their efforts, in close collaboration with negative domestic forces, to undermine our democratic and constitutional advances,” he said.
He was presenting the State Security Agency’s policy statement to the media as part of his department’s budget presentation.
Mahlobo told journalists he could not disclose “details that enemies can use”.
These “agents” were using sectors of society including the mainstream media, NGOs, and foreign and multi-national companies.
Their strategy included funding opposition activities, infiltrating key government departments and religious bodies to recruit people working there; making use of prominent people and covert intelligence networks and covert action.
He could not provide any examples where NGOs and the mainstream media had been involved in “undemocratic regime change”. He would not explain what he meant by “opposition activities”.
He said the media should ask itself if it was informing or providing slanted opinions. There were “greed and jealousies” in the world.
“I will not disclose the players doing certain things. These things – they are happening. The world is not as flat as we think.”
He was asked if the so-called spy report, which contains claims that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was overseas to plot President Jacob Zuma’s removal, was part of this “unconstitutional regime change”.
Mahlobo said the report was subject of a court case and an investigation by the Inspector General of intelligence.
Regarding social media, Mahlobo said that it was important to find a balance between people’s rights to freedom of expression, privacy, and security.
“We are monitoring everything.”
According to the Budget 2017 document released in February, the secret services will receive R4.7bn for the 2017/2018 financial year.