Opposition political parties are concerned by a recent report which claims President Cyril Ramaphosa was a target of an international spyware programme.
An investigation by Amnesty International and French media organisation, Forbidden Stories, found that 14 world leaders including Ramaphosa and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron’s details were on the Pegasus project’s database.
The parties are calling for investigations into the allegations.
News of the Pegasus project targeting the president has raised doubt over the country’s state security’s capabilities.
Analysts and now politicians have expressed doubt over whether the State Security Agency knew about the potential threat.
Dianne Kohler Barnard from DA says: “The fact that we have to read about this in the newspapers is of little surprise to me considering the dismal performance of the security cluster during the attacks and mass looting in KZN and Gauteng. Catching them with their pants down speaks volumes that they do not have the ability or technology to detect such activities shows how we have fallen in terms of global expertise.”
“It’s not surprising that we’ve been caught napping because the intelligence agencies from the police to the civil intelligence under the security minister are not fit for the job. They’ve shown themselves not to be competent,” says former intelligence minister, Ronnie Kasrils.
Other quarters are calling for a probe into the scandal.
“We cannot have the sovereignty of our country undermined by external forces and to this end. We expect the state security agencies to immediately investigate the veracity of the allegations made in that report. Our only concern is whether the state security agency will be able to do that given that there were not able to recently read the signs and interpret what was going to happen with the results of the looting that took place. Notwithstanding that we will support any measures to thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that no other country has access to information in south that is of a sensitive nature,” says IFP MP, Narend Singh.
Dennis Bloem from COPE adds: “We don’t know what is the bigger scheme of this targeting of president Ramaphosa. Are these people interested in the person of president Ramaphosa or are they interested in the affairs of the country? Nobody is having the right to do these illegal things against anybody…whether it is a president or an ordinary citizen of a country.”
The presidency has tasked the SSA to provide further details into the claims.
Acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says: “The state security agency will have to look at whether the targeting resulted in actioning…whether the phone of the president was tampered with. The state security will have to do that part and give us a report but we are not happy by the mere fact that we are targeted.”
This matter is expected to be on the agenda at the upcoming meeting of the parliament portfolio committee on intelligence.
Ramaphosa allegedly targeted in Pegasus spyware case: