President Cyril Ramaphosa outside Parliament ahead of his state of the nation 2019 address on Thursday, February 7 2019. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa outside Parliament ahead of his state of the nation 2019 address on Thursday, February 7 2019. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the re-establishment of the national security council, in a bid to better coordinate the country's intelligence and security related functions.

He will chair the council.

Delivering his second state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday night in Parliament, Ramaphosa said he would also re-establish the two arms of the intelligence service — one focusing on domestic and the other on foreign intelligence. 

In 2018, Ramaphosa established a high-level review panel on the State Security Agency (SSA), which under former president Jacob Zuma was seen to be used for political gains. 

The review panel was chaired by Sydney Mufamadi and has handed over its report and recommendations to the president. 

The SSA was formed following a review process, instituted by Zuma, of the country's intelligence structures in 2009. During this review the structures of the intelligence services, which included the National Intelligence Agency, were collapsed into one. 

Ramaphosa's decision to re-establish the two arms of the intelligence service and the national council is moving away from what the SSA had become under Zuma. 

Ramaphosa said the re-establishment of these services would "enable the reconstitution of a professional, national intelligence capability for SA".

He said the country would have a “professional national intelligence capability, whose task must be to defend and protect the people of SA and not any party political official”.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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