The South African Right2Know campaign has released its “Big Brother Exposed” report. The report revealed details about the way activists and community leaders are being “monitored, spied and harassed” by South African intelligence agencies.
In Right2Know’s latest issue of “Big Brother” it was revealed that National Union of Metal workers (Numsa), has announced to lodge a complaint with the Inspector General of Intelligence. This was decided when intelligence officials from State Security Agency (SSA) contacted various Numsa members and United Front activists for obtaining information about their activities. The report also highlighted the monitoring citizens’ issue.
This kind of monitoring has remained a primary issue of concern to activists in South Africa for probably years, states the report.
“This report draws on interviews with 16 people who have encountered some form of harassment from one of South Africa’s intelligence structures or people who are suspected of being intelligence agents,” explained Right2Know.
Among the numerous civil servants interviewed for the report, “Themba” stated that he was approached by the State Security Agency agent in 2014.
As per Themba’s narrative, the agency wanted to speak to him regarding a conversation between him and the Alternative Information Development Centre director, Brain Ashley.
Two male officers clad in suits arrived at Themba’s office and asked him questions about telephonic conversations between Ashley and him about probable strike action. These conversations were recorded by the agency already.
Themba inquired about the reason behind the State Security’s interest in Ashley in response to which the agency replied: “He is an activist who wants regime change”.
The following concerns were raised by Right2Know in relation to the above mentioned incident:
* How a political activist was believed to be a threat to national security by the State Security?
* How can the SSA investigate legal political activities in the first place?
* How can the SSA intercept phone calls?
Right2Know cited another incident that occurred in January 2015 which involved well-known South African activist “Miriam” and supposed “intelligence structures” members. Miriam reported in 2015 that she was approached by three men riding in a white sedan during an anti-crime march.
Miriam stated: “They asked what the protest was about and who I am, and am I the convenor of this march.” She replied, “My name is Miriam.” The man replied, “Oh, you’re the Miriam?” Then the person turned towards another of the three men seated on the passenger side and exclaimed: “This is Miriam, have a good look at her.”
Miriam later observed that her house was being monitored by these men and she was approached by these supposed intelligence agents on at least two more occasions.
You can read Right2Know campaign’s report below:
Featured Image via National Geographic