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Intelligence Services

‘Intelligence’, in an everyday sense, just means quickness in understanding. In the military context, however, it could mean life or death, victory or defeat. Here, intelligence means information – invariably about what the other armed forces are doing, or are about to do. That is why spies, scouts, reconnaissance, interrogation, torture and secret codes exist – to find out, or disguise important information.

The National Intelligence Agency, the South African Secret Service and the South African National Academy of Intelligence have all been absorbed into the State Security Agency.

The Intelligence Services Act 20021 regulates the organisation and control of the Agency, and in particular the vetting, powers, functions and discharge of its members. The Act falls under the authority of the Minister of State Security, but it is effectively administered by the Director-General of the Agency.

  1. The following are all offences:
    • falsely to pretend to be a member of the Agency;2
    • to encourage any member not to carry out his duty;3
    • to encourage any member to do something in conflict with his duty;4
    • to disclose classified information, or (without the clearance of the Director-General) material entrusted to him by another member or the Director-General of the Agency;5
    • under false pretences to wear any ribbon, medal, decoration, etc.;6
    • without the Minister’s approval, to use (in connection with any activity) any name, title or description likely to give the impression that the activity is associated or connected with the Agency.7
  2. It is an offence to enter any premises under the control of the Agency to which access has been prohibited by the Minister.8

  3. It is an offence for a former member of the Agency:9
    • to disclose classified information or material;10
    • to work in the private security industry until three years after he has left the Agency.11
  4. No former member of the Agency may communicate with any current or former member, or a member of a foreign intelligence service, in a manner that is likely to be detrimental to the security of the Republic and commits an offence if he does.12
  1. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by way of Act 11 of 2013. 

  2. Section 26(1)(a)(i). 

  3. Section 26(1)(a)(ii). 

  4. Section 26(1)(a)(ii). 

  5. Section 26(1)(a)(iii) and section 26(1)(g). 

  6. Section 26(1)(c) read with section 25(1). 

  7. Section 26(1)(d). 

  8. Section 26(1)(e) read with Section 33(1). 

  9. These do not apply if the Director-General has given clearance. 

  10. Section 26(1)(f)(i) and section 26(1)(a)(iii). 

  11. Section 26(1)(f)(ii). 

  12. Section 29 read with section 26(1)(f)(iii).