SONA Drama Part 11: Mahlobo denies responsibility for signal jamming

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 5, 2015

Security Minister David Mahlobo has said that he cannot be blamed from the signal jamming which halted proceedings during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address last month.

Speaking during a questions and answers session in the National Assembly yesterday, Mahlobo said the blocking of cellphone signals on February 12th was not the result of an executive or political decision taken before the SONA, and that him being held for the eventual chaos, was unfair.

“We have indicated that in terms of operational efficiency an error occurred, we regretted the error and on that basis we indicated our apologies that there was no intentional disruption of signal. We took the decision as a responsible authority to investigate but I cannot reveal the details as they in front of the court,” Mahlobo said.

His explanation resulted in Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister for Defence and Military Veterans, David Maynier, comparing the running of the department to the former Eastern German Stasi security agency, saying that Mahlobo should take responsibility for the jamming on a political level.

“The Minister has set a new record of generating two scandals in the last two weeks – first “Signalgate” and now “Spy Cable-gate. Therefore it should be in his interest, our interest and the interest of the county that he take political responsibility and resign, rather than relying on rogue officials defence and making some poor official walk the plank”.

Rebuking his claims, Mahlobo said that their aim is to protect the citizens and sovereignty of South Africa regardless of party, “including Maynier who enjoys the freedom and liberties because of the work our men and women do on a daily basis to keep South African safe”.

A short while later, Freedom Front Plus MP, Pieter Groenewald, enquired why Mahlobo, as part of the executive, was not part of the decision “where the legislative body was involved”.

“It is understandable that some people are not actually understanding the role of the executive if you have never been in the executive and in operations,” the minister said to mass jeering from opposition parties.

“There is an executive authority, administration authority led by the accounting office, but in the intelligence agency committee, the National Strategic Intelligence Act says that the minister must have operational directives which I don’t implement and if people don’t know this, we will arrange a joint sitting to explain everything”.

The matter eventually escalated with Mahlobo and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa implementing the sub judice rule to prevent questions from being answered, leading to outcry from opposition parties. Proceedings are set to commence later today.

 

IMAGE sourced from harianterbit.com

 

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