South African DA demands return of NIA spying material
The Democratic Alliance has demanded the return of all information gathered by
the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) during illegal spying on its offices.
DA intelligence spokesperson Paul Swart has written to Intelligence Minister
Ronnie Kasrils in this regard, party chief whip Douglas Gibson said on Monday.
In the letter, Swart said: "As the surveillance in question is alleged to
have been carried out illegally, all transcripts of telephone conversations,
intercepted e-mails, as well as all other information obtained that involves
any member of the DA or its
support staff cannot be legitimately retained by the intelligence services.
"If it is not returned, then this will constitute a further violation of
the constitutionally entrenched rights to privacy and dignity of the DA, its
office bearers and support staff."
There was every chance that the information concerned could relate to
confidential party matters, and if it were to land in the hands of the DA's
political competitors, could be used to the DA's disadvantage, Swart said.
On Sunday, DA leader Tony Leon asked President Thabo Mbeki to set up a
judicial commission of enquiry into South Africa's intelligence agencies.
His request followed media reports that the DA's parliamentary offices were
among 13 targets whose telephone calls were unlawfully monitored by the NIA.
"You cannot have a constitutional democracy with the National
Intelligence Agency behaving in this fashion," Leon said.
The probe should also look at South Africa's national security doctrine
"because the current doctrine virtually gives a blank cheque to spy on
anybody in South Africa for any reason, without let or hindrance".
In his report on the hoax ANC e-mails released last week, Inspector General of
Intelligence Zolile Ngcakani said the voice communications of at least 13
members of the public including senior members of the ruling party, the
opposition, businessmen and officials in the public service were intercepted.
DA officials have said the information that the party's parliamentary offices
had been targeted was apparently contained in a more comprehensive version of
Ngcakani's report, which had not been made public. - Sapa
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