Minister of State Security David Mahlobo. Picture: GCIS
Minister of State Security David Mahlobo. Picture: GCIS

Forces that aimed to undermine the government, are abusing the judiciary and the media, among other institutions, to achieve their aims, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said on Sunday.

He referred to people who "run to court on political matters to undermine decisions taken by the government". He did not refer in particular to the DA, which has been an active litigant against decisions by government and its entities on a range of things from presidential appointments to pursuing the reinstatement of charges against President Jacob Zuma.

Mahlobo’s comments during a media briefing of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of ministers coincide with the views expressed in a draft document prepared by the peace and stability committee of the ANC for the party’s policy conference in June.

According to a Sunday Times report, the document accuses unnamed foreign intelligence agencies of working with "negative domestic forces" to undermine the state and achieve unconstitutional regime change.

They were using the media, nongovernmental and community-based organisations, foreign and domestic companies, the judiciary and religious and student organisations to achieve their aims, the report said. Mahlobo also raised the spectre of destabilisation initiatives in his budget vote speech in 2016, pointing a finger at civil society organisations that,
he said, were being used by foreign agencies to undermine the government. 

On Sunday, he highlighted the fact that the world was a very unstable place and that the high level of unilateralism had put it "on tenterhooks". Militarisation was also on the rise as well as counter-revolutionary attempts to achieve unconstitutional regime change such as in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

This was also happening in SA and people should not ask state security for evidence.

"SA is not an exception from being attacked as a country. There are state and nonstate actors that are at play trying to exert influence over this government in one way or another. Some do this in a clandestine way to undermine us as a country."

These actors were motivated, the minister said, by national or economic interests and in order to operate they needed either witting or unwitting collaborators. Issues, organisations and individuals were chosen to achieve their ends. For instance, issues such as education or unemployment, a weakness in SA, could be used.

"Unfortunately the media can be used. It is an important instrument to win the hearts and minds of individuals. Whoever controls the media has an advantage to control what goes out," Mahlobo said.

Mahlobo said Zuma had given the security cluster "a very short period" to review the effectiveness of laws dealing with the fight against crime to determine what was working and what was not, as well as what needed to be changed to ensure successful prosecutions.

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