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Ad Hoc Committee on the Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill concludes public hearings in Mpumalanga


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Ad Hoc Committee on the Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill concludes public hearings in Mpumalanga

19th February 2024


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The Ad Hoc Committee on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill today concluded the Mpumalanga leg of the public hearings at the Mayor’s Parlour in the Gert Sibande District Municipality. The committee welcomed approximately 157 members of the public who expressed their views on the Bill.
Some inputs submitted today raised a concern that the Bill’s ambiguous definitions result in a broad surveillance scope and expansive powers granted to the intelligence services which pose a threat to the rights and freedoms of citizens. Participants recommended that clear and precise definitions of key terms such as “threat” and “person or institution of national security interest” be unambiguous in the Bill to prevent arbitrary interpretations and abuse of power.
Other oral submissions pointed to complications with the potential vetting of institutions. Participants claimed that the Bill poses a risk of erosion of privacy, empowerment of state interference and stifling of dissent. Recommendations therefore included that the Bill requires robust oversight mechanisms to ensure the accountability of the intelligence services to the public and the rule of law; and to protect the rights of individuals and organisations from unwarranted surveillance and interference by state authorities.
Participants supported the need for strong intelligence services which are able to have a capability to ensure the safety of communities. They noted that the Bill is necessary to ensure an early warning system to prevent events such as the July 2021 unrest. Submissions also called for the protection of whistle blowers as they are essential in providing the security services with information from communities.
Today’s session marked the end of the provincial public hearings process on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill. It follows extensive public engagements in Limpopo, Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. The public hearings that ended today in Gert Sibande District in Mpumalanga, started in Musina, Limpopo on 22 January 2024. The committee will now move forward to receive additional oral submissions from selected stakeholders before in-depth deliberations on the Bill commence. Members of the public are invited to follow further proceedings on Parliament’s various social media platforms.

Issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill, Mr Jerome Maake.

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