The management of security affairs in South Africa: 1994-2000.
The management of security affairs in South Africa has undergone a fundamental transformation during the period under review in this publication. Indeed, it is necessary to consider the parallel processes of the development of White Papers on defence, intelligence and police; the transformation of the management of the South African National Defence Force (SANOF), the South African Police Service (SAPS), and of the intelligence community, while also considering the constitutional and legislative changes that have taken place. The approach of this section, however, is not to try to cover all of that ground nor to trace the historical development of the processes, but to focus on the components that make up the present security/intelligence management set-up.
The overarching framework for the management of security affairs in South Africa today is enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996) which devotes a chapter to the security services, namely the defence force, the police service and the intelligence service(s). The Constitutional Assembly (CA) opted for a uniquely South African approach -- learning from international experience, but charting an own route. This can be seen in the inclusion of intelligence in the Constitution, which was done with the full support of all the political parties in the CA and the support of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and South African Secret Service (SASS).
Chapter 11 of the Constitution opens with a succinct statement of the principles governing national security:
-- National security must reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals, to live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life.
-- The resolve to live in peace and harmony precludes any South African citizen from participating in armed conflict, nationally or internationally, except as provided for in terms of the Constitution or national legislation.
-- National security must be pursued in compliance with the law, including international law.
-- National security is subject to the authority of Parliament and the national executive.
The Constitution then defines overarching principles that cover the structuring of state and private security services:
-- The defence force is the only lawful military force in the Republic;
-- The security services must be structured and regulated by national legislation;
-- Other than security services established in terms of the Constitution, armed organisations or services may be established only in terms of national legislation;
-- The security services must act, and teach and require their members to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law, including customary international law and international agreements binding on the Republic;
-- No member of any security services may obey a manifestly illegal order;
-- Neither the security services, nor any of their members, may, in -- the performance of their functions -- prejudice a political party interest that is legitimate in terms of the Constitution; or further, in a partisan manner, any interest of a political party;
-- To give effect to the principles of transparency and accountability, multi-party parliamentary committees must have oversight of all security services in a manner determined by national legislation or the rules and orders of Parliament.
The opening sections of Chapter 11 of the Constitution reflect the debates incorporated in the Intelligence White Paper, and later in the White Paper on National Defence as well as in the legislative processes. South Africa moved from a narrow concept of state security in a militarist, securocrat sense, to a belief that the security of the nation is intimately bound up with the ability of the state to deliver on the needs and interests of the people of the country. In other words, there has been a shift to concern with national and human security.
The relationship between development and security lies behind the governing principles of national security.
These sections in the Constitution also mark a sharp departure from South African history in the manner in which they define acceptable security service behaviour in line with the law, including two of the bodies of international law and convention, namely on human rights and on armed conflict. Here the Human Rights content of the Constitution is reflected with direct reference to the security services.
The intelligence section of the Constitution, while covered by the principles governing security and the provisions for the structuring and behaviour of security services, is notably different from the sections dealing with police and defence. In many repressive and anti-democratic countries the distinctions between the cultures, mandates/briefs and practice of the three security services have been blurred. The South African Constitution ensures that the defence force, the police service and the intelligence service(s) have separate tasks and objects.
-- The defence force's primary objective is to defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people, in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force.
-- The objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property and to uphold and enforce the law.
-- The objects, powers and functions of the intelligence services and the intelligence co-ordinating mechanism are defined in national legislation and not in the Constitution.
This constitutional foundation of the difference between these apparatuses is fundamental to achieving democracy.
Intelligence services must be structured and tasked in order to suit the precise conditions of the day, particularly where the intelligence services are essentially driven by the expressed needs of the clients. Defence needs can be fairly well predicted and long term planning is the order of the day. The police service has an ongoing basic mandate of law enforcement, with the specific needs of the structure being adjusted to address the prevalence of crime at any one time. For intelligence services to be effective, flexibility is important. They have no independent rationale for existence outside of the needs of the government of the day. They are service organisations, delivery vehicles for critical and analytical strategic and tactical information to equip policy and decision-makers. They are a guide and an early warning system for those in government.
Building the human rights culture in South Africa, which is policy of the government, as well as envisaged in the Constitution, is a massive undertaking, and must involve a shift away from the militarised society of the apartheid era. Demilitarisation of the social fabric, essential to democracy, must entail the demilitarisation of policing and the development of community policing. It must involve separation of intelligence services from government political and propaganda strategy and from agitational and agent provocateur work. It must focus the intelligence structures on providing processed early warning and analytical information to government. It entails the transformation of the culture of the defence force to one of inclusion and non-sexism and a retreat from seeing the entire country and the entire population as an operational area.
The Constitution firmly enshrines civilian authority over the security services. The principle of civilian ministerial political responsibility over the services is laid down. The civilian defence and police secretariats are enabled by the Constitution and have been set up in practice. These sections of the departments have played an important role in security management over the past five years. In relation to intelligence there is the added measure of an independent Inspectorate, with the first Inspector General having been only recently appointed. Civilian oversight is taken further through the setting up of Parliamentary Portfolio and Standing Committees in terms of the Rules of Parliament and in relation to intelligence through national legislation. This results in the security services being under parliamentary oversight, with the necessary degree of confidentiality to protect national assets of security and intelligence.
2.2 Management of security affairs
Turning to the structured management of security affairs in the democratic South Africa, there are various elements that need to be touched on. The post-1994 Cabinet through its Cabinet Committee on Security and Intelligence (CCSI) asserted the authority of the National Executive over the line functional departments, and addressed the interface between these departments. Since early in 1999, the Inter-Ministerial Security Committee (IMSC) acted as a staff body to the CCSI.
In addition, there were statutory structures established, such as the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (NICOC) and the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC). Over and above these, there was an organic process of inter-departmental structures formed most often to deal with specific problems.
Looking back at the end of the five-year period, it is clear that while at the policy level a coherence of national security policy is present, there is a lack of coherence in the structural arrangements that emerged.
2.2.1 Statutory management of the Intelligence Community
The management of the intelligence community is laid down in three pieces of legislation -- the Intelligence Services Act, 1994 (Act No. 38 of 1994), the National Strategic Intelligence Act, 1994 (Act No. 39 of 1994) as amended, and the Intelligence Services Control Act, 1994 (Act No. 40 of 1994) as amended. The management of the intelligence community takes place through NICOC, under the supervision of the Ministry for Intelligence.
NICOC was established on 1 January 1995 in accordance with the National Strategic Intelligence Act, 1994 (Act No. 39 of 1994), as amended and consists of the following statutorily defined members: Minister for Intelligence Services; Co-ordinator for Intelligence; NIA Director-General (DG); SASS DG; Chief: Defence Intelligence, SANDF; and Head: Crime Intelligence Division, SAPS. The following are co-opted members of NICOC: DG of Foreign Affairs (DFA), DG in the Office of the Presidency. NICOC Principals have responsibilities that derive from the sections of the Act that define their departmental mandates, as well as responsibilities that flow from section 4 of the Act, which defines the co-ordination functions.
In terms of the National Strategic Intelligence Act, NICOC has the following obligations and functions:
-- Co-ordinate and interpret national strategic intelligence.
-- Co-ordinate and prioritise intelligence activities.
-- Advise Cabinet on intelligence policy and functions.
-- Prepare and interpret the national intelligence estimate.
-- Produce and disseminate current intelligence.
-- Co-ordinate flow of national security intelligence between departments.
-- Make recommendations on intelligence priorities to Cabinet.
NICOC is supported by a staff component under the leadership of the Co-ordinator. NICOC substructures are designed to take forward the co-ordinating function, and exist as a small permanent staff, assisted by representatives from the services for the duration of a task on an inter-departmental working group or functional committee. The role of NICOC and NICOC staff as manager and facilitator of functions and not performer of functions (except in the sense of the final stage of production) is key in locating NICOC in the intelligence processes and understanding NICOC's role in building the intelligence community Essentially the working of NICOC substructures shows that NICOC is not separate from the four intelligence structures. NICOC is the sum of its parts.
2.2.2 Organic growth of security related co-ordinating mechanisms
Apart from the Constitutional and statutory bodies, there has during the five year period, been a growth of Government structures relating to security issues that have brought departments together.
The most well known of these is the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) that was put in place due to the recognition that the fight against crime required an inter-departmental and long term strategy in support of the SAPS crime combating function. The NCPS has brought departments together at both Ministerial level and at the DG level, and operates largely through inter-departmental project work. The NCPS Minister's Committee, responsible for strategic direction to the NCPS and monitoring the implementation of NCPS projects, operated under the guidance and authority of the Cabinet Committee on Security and Intelligence (CCSI).
A similar approach was followed in relation to other issues that had been identified at Cabinet level as requiring urgent and inter-departmental attention. In relation to taxi violence there is an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Taxi Violence, and on the level of officials the Special Presidential Task Team on Taxi Violence, (SPTTT). In relation to border control, there was an Inter-Ministerial Border Control Steering Committee, with both a DGs Committee and the National Inter-Departmental Structure (NIDS).
In relation to South Africa's participation in regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) processes, there has also been an inter-departmental Ministerial Committee and a structure at the level of officials that has facilitated South Africa's participation in the Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC). The SADC Summit has initiated a process of aligning the diplomacy, defence and security structures with the SADC Summit in order to break the deadlock over the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and the ISDSC. SADC is in the process of finalising an approach to set up parallel structures of a committee on diplomacy and a committee on defence and state security. However, the South African approach has been that this is an artificial separation and the South Africa delegation will continue to function with a single contingent operating at both Ministerial and official levels, separating only at the level of the sub-sub committees of diplomacy, policing, defence and state security .
On the basis of accumulated experience of securing a variety of events over the first five years of government, during the period of preparation for the election and the inauguration of the new President in 1999, the officials at the head of the intelligence community, defence force and police service constituted themselves into an ad hoc Steering Committee. The Steering Committee functioned under the guidance of an IMSC, also falling under the ambit of the CCSI. The intelligence community and the operational arms/security departments co-operated excellently through this Steering Committee, convened by the Co-ordinator for Intelligence, and consisting of the National Commissioner SAPS, the Chief of SANDF, the DG of NIA, the DG of SASS and the DG of DFA. It was supported by the Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures (JOINTS) co-chaired by the Intelligence and Operational Departments at Deputy Director-General (DDG) level. This was, in turn, supported by an inter-departmental intelligence structure and t he National Operational Co-ordinating Committee (NOCOC) structure, that brings together the SAPS, and other departments such as the SANDF, Welfare, and Home Affairs as appropriate, in relation to their function of support to the police's crime combating efforts. This approach to security operational coordination has laid the basis for the current decision to set up a National Security Council.
The approach that the most effective management of the implementation of strategy has been at DDG level, under the guidance of the DG level structures, appears to be developing into a consistent approach, seen already within the NCPS, the election security mechanism, and the co-ordination of certain operations.
With the announcement by the Minister of Safety and Security after the election, of Operation Monozite, a high density anti-crime operation, this approach was carried through in the formation of an ad hoc NICOC Crime Risk Assessment Functional Committee, that was briefing NOCOC on a weekly basis. This approach has also been taken forward to address any needs emanating from NOCOC or from National Protective Services in relation to event security, such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban.
2.2.3 Review of the functioning of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees
Recently there has been a process of re-evaluating the structuring of Cabinet Committees and hence the inter-departmental Ministerial Committees and inter-departmental structures at official level. Cabinet now has six Cluster Committees:
-- Cabinet Committee for the Social Sector;
-- Cabinet Committee for the Economic Sector;
-- Cabinet Committee on Investment and Employment;
-- Cabinet Committee on Governance and Administration;
-- Cabinet Committee on International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS); and
-- Cabinet Committee for Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS).
The aim of the restructuring is to facilitate greater integration in the operation of departments in line with the priorities of the new government. These Cabinet Committees are cascaded down to permanent DG level committees with appropriate support structures. This process involves a rationalisation of the Inter-Ministerial Committees and the DG level structures, although those structures set up in the statutes such as NICOC and NCACC remain.
2.2.4 Cabinet decision on National Security Council (NSC)
The last nine months have seen the consolidation of the approach to co-ordination around national security issues that was approved by Cabinet in June 2000. A task team was set up at the end of 1999 to investigate how the concept of national security should be reflected in the structures of the country, and how this relates to operational security co-ordination. A distinction was drawn between the broad and narrow concepts of security and a key question is whether "a tighter structure, more narrowly based on the Security Departments is necessary in order to ensure that coordination on the narrower security issues is not lost in the broader focus"?
The result was an integrated, multi-departmental national security co-ordination structure. The objective is to address the following:
-- The need for co-ordination of intelligence and security operations.
-- The need for liaison with and between the Cabinet Clusters in relation to national security issues.
-- The need for a structure that can be convened with speed.
-- The need for a strategic body with regard to national security issues affecting South Africa.
Four enduring key interests were identified. These interests and supporting objectives are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and each should be interpreted and understood in relation to the others. The key national interests are:
-- The survival and defence of South Africa, its values and institutions and the safety of its people.
-- Sustainable economic growth and development in South Africa and the region.
-- A peaceful and stable international environment.
-- Engagement with and participation in the international community.
Each of these headings can, of course, be expanded into a number of specific issues, the protection and promotion of which contributes to the goal of achieving and maintaining security for South Africa and its people.
The adoption of the wide definition of security means that any issue that could impact on the quality of life of the inhabitants of South Africa is a security issue. The national security management structure must therefore enable effective measures to deal with both routine, day-to-day issues and with crises. Most issues that impact on national interests and security in the broad sense are dealt with on a routine basis by government departments and do not require an urgent, concerted and co-ordinated response at a national level, except in the context of crises. The scale and urgency of a matter may, however, elevate its status to a point where an extraordinary response is required. The main focus areas are expected to be internal stability; disaster relief within South Africa; international obligations; defence of South Africa; and big event security.
Key features of issues that require co-ordination at a national level include a combination of, but need not necessarily be, confined to the following:
-- High impact on quality of life.
-- High impact on South Africa's international standing.
-- High impact on South Africa's values and interests.
-- The use of threat or force.
-- The non-routine nature of the event or issue.
-- The urgency of an issue.
-- High impact on regional security.
It was argued that mechanisms designed for the routine, day-to-day management of government affairs may not have the agility and rapid response capability to effectively deal with such matters. A National Security Council (NSC) is to be created to ensure a rapid, co-ordinated and effective response to critical threats to the security of South Africa and its people.
The NSC will be a vehicle for the protection of South African citizens and the democratic order, and is designed to enhance the effectivity of the President and Cabinet in relation to national security issues. The concept of a NSC put forward in this document is compatible with South Africa's democratic principles. It must be clear that the supremacy of the Constitution, the powers of the Parliament, and the executive authority of the President which is exercised with Cabinet are not eroded in any way by the NSC. The NSC is accountable to Cabinet and through Cabinet and the President accountable to Parliament. In this sense there can be no comparison with the security system of the apartheid regime where the State Security Council eroded the authority and role of the Cabinet.
The NSC must not only be viewed against the backdrop of the constitutional basis of South Africa's national security policy, but must also be seen in the context of, on the one hand, constitutional provisions enabling the creation of such a body and, on the other hand, those ensuring controls against the abuse thereof.
-- The Constitution vests executive authority in the President [Art 85(1)], who is Head of State and head of the national executive [Art 83(a)].
-- The President, together with the other members of Cabinet, exercises that authority inter alia by developing and implementing national policy and by co-ordinating the functions of state departments [Art 85(2)(b) and (c)].
-- The President also appoints the Deputy President and Ministers and assigns their powers and functions [Art 91 (2)].
The NSC will, in terms of these provisions, be created to facilitate the efficient exercise of executive authority with respect to certain issues and under certain conditions.
The Constitution also contains checks and balances against the abuse of power.
-- The President is required to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution [Art 83(b)].
-- Members of Cabinet are collectively and individually held accountable for the exercise of their powers and are required to act in accordance with the Constitution and to provide full and regular reports regarding matters under their control to Parliament [Art 92(2) and (3)].
The Constitution thus provides clear safeguards against the abuse of any state organ, including the NSC. This is backed up by extensive legislation enabling control over the activities of state, protecting the rights of individuals and enabling a level of public scrutiny hitherto unknown. The framework ensuring the operation of the NSC in accordance with democratic principles is thus firmly in place.
The NSC will be convened by the President to ensure a rapid, co-ordinated and effective response to issues and events having a particularly urgent and severe impact on the security of South Africa and its people. The Deputy President will be a permanent member. The core members of the NSC are the following ministries/departments: Safety and Security; Defence; Intelligence; Foreign Affairs; Home Affairs; Finance and Justice. Ministries/departments that should be co-opted members of the NSC from time to time whenever necessary are: Trade and Industry; Welfare; Correctional Services; Provincial and Local Government.
The functions of the NSC include the following:
-- To develop national security policy in general and with regard to specific issues which cannot be dealt with by the JCPS or IRPS Cabinet Committees.
-- To prioritise national and foreign security issues for the attention of Cabinet.
-- To exercise an early warning function with respect to potential threats to national interests and security.
-- To provide policy guidelines for planning to meet urgent and/or severe threats to security.
-- To approve plans and programs of action regarding such threats.
--To direct, monitor and evaluate the execution of such plans.
-- To develop appropriate responses to crises.
-- To co-ordinate assistance to other governments in crisis situations.
-- To liaise with the Cabinet Cluster Committees in relation to co-ordination of their activities regarding security issues.
The qualitative difference between its activities and those of Cabinet and the Cabinet Clusters requires that it operates in parallel with Cabinet and the subordinate clusters, with the President as both head of Cabinet and Chairperson of the NSC. The NSC is not, however, a parallel bureaucracy to existing government departments and the functioning of its substructures should enhance line functional effectiveness of government departments. The NSC will, as required, liaise with Cabinet and with specific Clusters and could both refer issues to Cabinet and/or its substructures when routine management can be resumed, and receive notification from Cabinet and/or the Clusters regarding emerging crises requiring NSC attention.
In addition to the invitation by the President of relevant DGs to participate in the NSC whenever deemed necessary, the NSC will be supported by a National Security Directors-Generals' (NS DGs) Committee. The NS DGs Committee will provide a forum for co-ordination between DGs as required, and serve as an essential link to the operational structures that will execute the decisions of the NSC. The convening of the NS DGs Committee will be determined by the President.
The NS DGs Committee will direct the appropriate interdepartmental structures for implementation purposes. The approach to operational structures, consisting of JOINTS and substructures, will be retained. The operational substructures in 1999 were largely concerned with issues relating to internal stability, domestic disaster relief and big event security. The composition of JOINTS will be determined according to the issue, and the same lines as the proven structures will be utilised to deal with other issues.
Intelligence support and co-ordination is a crucial element of security management. NICOC is therefore an essential component of the overall security management system, providing the necessary service at all levels, to all the components of the structure.
The first six years of democratic government in South Africa have reflected both the development of new and appropriate policy on national security matters and the emergence of an integrated approach to national security management. In this process clear decisions and actions were taken to put a distance between the militarist and oppressive security regime of the apartheid years and the approach of a democratic South Africa.
At the same time, engagement by security departments with the practical challenges of security management have resulted in the development of an approach in the field that has matured into the present system. The challenge of the coming five year period will be to ensure that the Cabinet decision on the NSC is implemented, and that it is correctly aligned with the Cabinet Committees and Cabinet itself, as well as with the existing statutory structures. It is apparent that the principle of integrated government is well on its way, but that implementing integrated government is a process that will take time to consolidate and align.
(*.) Document drafted for the Institute by NICOC.
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|Publication:||Institute for Strategic Studies|
|Article Type:||Topic Overview|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2000|
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