The State Security Agency (SSA) will have to drop more than a decade of cloak and dagger behaviour if it truly wants to win the trust of the public. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced wide-scale reforms to the agency during his state of the nation address last week, including the re-establishment of two arms of the SSA, focusing on domestic and foreign intelligence respectively. He said he would, on the basis of the recommendations of the high level panel on the SSA chaired by former minister and ANC stalwart Sydney Mufamadi, be announcing a number of urgent steps to “enable the reconstitution of a professional national intelligence capability for SA”. Among these steps would be the re-establishment of the National Security Council which will be chaired by the president “in order to ensure better co-ordination of the intelligence and security related functions of the state”. This move takes SA’s intelligence structures back 10 years to how it was under former president Thabo Mbeki....

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