The civil rights organisation AfriForum has instructed its legal team to investigate possible legal action against police officers who abuse their positions for political purposes.
This follows after Bess Nkabinde, retired judge of the constitutional court who was appointed to investigate the interception of communications, submitted her intelligence report to parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence last week. According to Nkabinde, it is a shocking reality that investigators are dishonest about the reasons for their applications to intercept people’s communication.
One such example is when journalists’ personal communications were intercepted after police officers fabricated information to obtain permission from a judge to intercept the communications. The police officers claimed that they wanted to obtain the journalists’ communication because they allegedly blew up automatic teller machines.
According to Nkabinde, it is almost impossible to determine whether the reasons given for these types of applications are legitimate or whether they have been fabricated.
Another problem is that it is almost impossible to keep track of the large number of applications for communication interception, because there is apparently an excess number of case numbers linked to the requests.
“It is well known by now that the Zuma administration has exploited the country’s intelligence structures to fight political factional fighting. It is extremely worrying to hear that the structures are still being exploited and that there are so many cases of police members intercepting information under false pretenses,” says Jacques Broodryk, Campaigns Manager at AfriForum.