Former President Director-General and African National Congress (ANC) veteran Frank Chikane’s bid to become the next Inspector-General of Intelligence has failed.
Chikane failed to garner a two-thirds majority from members of the National Assembly required for his appointment. The two largest opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) did not support Chikane. They raised his links with the ANC for their objections. The National Assembly now has to start afresh looking for a suitable candidate.
The job of the Inspector General of Intelligence is to keep the country’s spies in check. This is by monitoring and reviewing the operations of the various intelligence services and investigating public complaints about possible violations of the constitution and abuse of the law.
The country’s intelligence services have come in for serious criticism recently with several investigations finding that the spooks involved themselves in political battles, especially of the governing ANC. Questions were also raised about their effectiveness following the devastating riots in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng last year.
ANC Deputy Chief Whip, Doris Dlakude, made an impassioned plea to the house saying Chikane had proven his loyalty to the country.
“The reverend Chikane, if I may tell you, he excelled in the interviews. Everyone who was watching knows that. We have no doubt he has experience, he has loyalty to the country. His loyalty is to the country, not to the ANC,” says Dlakude.
The Inkatha Freedom Party ( IFP’s) Russel Cebekhulu and Nqabayomzi Kwankwa also endorsed Chikane as a person of integrity who would do a good job.
“Intelligence services are operating at their lowest ebb. There is clear lack of leadership and this will require competent oversight by an individual with prior knowledge of the intelligence services and this is exactly what the reverend Chikane brings to the table,” says Cebekhulu.
“Yes we have reservations and concerns that perhaps a younger more energetic person could have been chosen but we are of the view that the Rev Chikane is a man of integrity and will be able to discharge his responsibility in this new assignment with distinction,” says Kwankwa.
Chikane’s ANC history was the red flag for Dianne Kohler Barnard of the DA. She says as an elder, Chikane should not be put in this position. She says it would be difficult for heads of intelligence service to believe that Chikane would take their side as opposed to that of his ANC comrades in the executive. In addition to everything, she says Chikane performed poorly in the interview.
“In his interview he said he believed that gaps in the law will be filled with the position of the IGI but the laws are handled by parliament. He is looking to restructure intelligence and question all the acting positions…he was there for a decade on the ANC top structures watching it happen,” says Kohler Barnard.
In the video below, Chikane elaborates on his vision for SA Intelligence:
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of the EFF disputed Chikane’s integrity as advanced by the ANC. He says the reverend had said nothing when former President Thabo Mbeki allegedly investigated ANC veterans whom he accused of trying to harm him. He says Chikene has inconsistent morality.
“Chikane is the second ANC endorsed candidate who fails to make the grade. In 2016 the party had to abandon its attempt to have Cecil Burges appointed as opposition parties indicated they would not support him,” says Ndlozi.
VIDEO: Ten candidates shortlisted for Inspector-General of Intelligence position:
Video: Analysis: Frank Chikane’s bid to become the next inspector general for intelligence fails