Hon Chairperson, today the world joins us in remembering one of South Africa's greatest leader, Comrade President Nelson Mandela. I dedicate this budget speech to all those who worked with him tirelessly in the formation of our people's army uMkhonto weSizwe in 1961.
I want to pay a special tribute to Ntate Ike Maphoto, Isithwalandwe, Seaparankoe who died on Monday. Ntate Maphoto spent 13 years on death row in the then Rhodesia following their arrest after a battle with the Rhodesian forces on the side of evil and the MK and ZIPRA forces on the just side of a people's war. May both their souls rest in eternal peace.
Chairperson, the Deputy Minister and I stand here before you in our new roles to table our Budget Vote and policy statement for the 2019-20 financial year. The policy statement and budget is designed to carry us through the implementation of our constitutional and legislative mandate and the recommendations of the High Level Review Panel on State Security.
We have entered an era full of exciting opportunities and possibilities, amazing and unbelievable innovations and technological advances. An era of advanced medical technologies,
complex and efficient transport networks and systems, an era of artificial intelligence propelled by algorithms that accomplish wonders. It is an era fraught with life threatening catastrophes. It is an era of increased threats to the environment and its integrity to nurture and bring life to flora and fauna and good quality health to our people.
The unprecedented advancement otherwise known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution undermines traditional ways of doing things. In the shortest of time it has accomplished wonders far surpassing the Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts and Gothic cathedrals. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the buzzword of the twenty-first century, on the lips of everyone, but none can predict the ramifications of this cherished crusade of human advancement.
Can we boldly claim to understand that this actually, in practical and scientific terms, enable us to determine, with absolute certainty, what threats and opportunities come with this phenomenon. Have we identified our collective strengths and weaknesses that will enable us to put measures in place to address the threats and mitigate against their devastating impact? Are there strategies enabling and supporting legislation and policies in place or in the
pipeline to adequately harness and exploit whatever opportunities come with this for the greater good of our nation?
There is an emergence of new and unconventional threats. The proliferation of terrorism and hybrid warfare is real in the modern world - threats that will not wait for us to ready ourselves for the inevitable eventualities. For example, the cyber space has catapulted human advancement through digital connectivity, while simultaneously making us vulnerable to cyber- attacks and the obliteration, corruption and destruction of information, systems and data in the custodianship of the state, academia and business.
Are our laws, budgets, investment, and human capacity reflective of our combat readiness to ward off any war that could be waged against us on cyber space? I see Minister Ndabeni Abrahams is smiling. The accelerated pace of globalization on an unprecedented scale has also intensified the threats and dangers we face from international terrorism and the spread of deadly technologies, to economic upheaval and a changing climate.
These threats are on the rise and are becoming complex and diverse. Today and tomorrow the threats will be less predictable. Our only
choice is to adapt and pursue constant research and development to stay ahead of the game.
The high rate of unemployment is a chilling reality, especially among young people and those not of pensionable age. It poses a massive security risk to our country coupled with a stagnant economy whose structure is not fully inclusive. We have thus identified as high priority risk, the socioeconomic condition and the high unemployment of people and youth in particular, the cyber space security, regional influence, countering international terrorism, domestic political stability and economic prosperity as our uppermost priorities.
We will proceed to identify risks and opportunities at the earliest possible stage, shaping developments and preventing threats from emerging in the near future. For us to be equal to the task so that we can address the identified priority risks, we must build formidable institutions in the intelligence community that are professional and offer a human service that is credible and trustworthy. We must re-build a professional and human service that is responsive to the needs of our people.
Intelligence is a craft that requires a calibre of members who conduct themselves in a professional manner, devoid of political and institutional factionalism and manipulation. Members must abide by the Constitution and the code of ethics for the service. Their craftsmanship and membership to the service must be a badge of honour, worn with pride and integrity. They must be the envy to their peers and a beacon of hope and pride to all South Africans.
Hon members, ladies and gentleman, let me provide a specific plan to address the issues raised above and some of the concrete actions we will undertake in the current financial year. One of our key priorities is the rebuilding of the image of the agency which has suffered some considerable damage in the recent past. In order to clear the backlog of disciplinary cases, we will appoint a person with the requisite skills, by the end of the month to take on this task. In doing this we will ensure impartiality, fairness and the observance of the rule of law in handling these cases.
Another important area of focus is capacity building through training and development of staff. The re-visioning of the South African National Academy on Intelligence will include striking a balance between academic excellence with the provision of appropriate technical skills; bringing in more expertise; injecting
capital infrastructure; reviewing curricula; and developing world class research and development capacity. This will bring us much closer to the goal of professionalising the agency and, most importantly, the preparation of the workplace for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the future of jobs.
We are in the process of bringing high quality members with proven expertise and experience in high end research and development and the appointment of the head of research and development will be finalised by 1 September 2019. In this context, I am also pleased to announce that we have already started the process to assess the skills profile of the agency. We expect to complete these skills audit within four months. It will help us to identifying gaps and challenges associated with our capacity to fulfil our mandate as an agency now and into the future.
In our efforts to strengthen governance and the integrity of our administrative systems, we have undertaken benchmarking visits to select counterparts in the world. The lessons learnt will be translated into enhancing our systems and beefing up our compliance instruments.
In the next two months, we will ensure that we establish the following governance structures: A Ministerial Advisory Committee on Appeals, a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Declassification, an advisory board for the intelligence academy and the appointment of commissioners for the ICCS. This work will go a long way in addressing the issues identified in the last audit outcomes of the Auditor General.
Hon Chairperson, my predecessor had announced a number of interventions such as enhanced collaboration with the Anticorruption Task Team, in addition to measures to deal with corruption within the agency itself. To this end, I have requested Minister Mchunu for the Department of Public Service and Administration, DPSA, to assist us to develop an ethics and integrity framework for the agency. We are confident that such a framework will lay a solid foundation for a credible and ethical environment and the appointment of ethics officers in the agency. We will also collaborate with the public service commission to implement lifestyle audits within this financial year.
In the next eight months, we will be reviewing and updating some of our policy and legislative instruments to strengthen our capacity to carry out our mandate. Amongst others is the review of the White
Paper on Intelligence and the Minimum Information Security Standards.
In ensuring effective planning, we will enhance our strategic planning products such as the national intelligence estimate to provide a range of scenarios to enable policy options. Furthermore, in such products we will work with the National Treasury for effective cost mitigating measures on threats and opportunities for the Republic. Added to this will be the restoration and strengthening of our collaborative efforts within the security cluster and other stakeholders.
The integrated approach to our work we referred to earlier will also inform our efforts in the international environment. We will also work with the Presidency and other key stakeholders to initiate the review, consultation and ultimate adoption of the National Security Strategy.
We intend to address the issue of vetting especially of executives and of top management including staff with key decision making responsibilities in supply chain across the administration including state-owned enterprises, SOEs.
In the next three months, we will introduce uniform vetting standards across the sector to avoid inconsistency and duplication. The Deputy Minister will announce the concrete steps that we will undertake.
We have started doing an assessment of risks that will make government fail to attain its objectives across the administration.
This will help the state get to determine and address the root causes, systematic challenges, legislative and policy contradiction and gaps. If we fail to address these, we must be prepared for increased levels of community frustration, continued non-payment for services rendered and the escalation of conflict between government and citizens.
We must partner with stakeholders across the sectors of our society in identifying opportunities that would help our economy to grow which would enable our youth to be absorbed into meaningful economic activity. Our focus in involving the youth in programmes of government is also driven by the imperative of the advancement of technology. It is no secret that young people are agile, innovative and better prepared to embrace the demands of new technologies that increasingly pervade the world of work across the globe.
In this regard, we intend to strengthen our collaboration with technology institutions and associations who are involved in empowering young people with information communications technology, ICT, skills like applications development and coding capabilities. In collaboration with the National Treasury, SA Revenue Service, Sars, and the SA Reserve Bank, we will pay particular attention to other complex threats to the economic wellbeing of our country.
These would include the entire spectrum of illicit economy; base erosion, the manipulation of our currency; the protection of strategic capabilities in various sectors of the economy; risks arising from climate change; energy security; food security; and sovereignty of the country on water resources.
Hon Chairperson, poor cyber safety precautions and security measures are the major contribution to cyber vulnerabilities. A 2018 study conducted by the University of the Western Cape confirmed that, among those studied; South Africa is one of the 10 most vulnerable countries on the globe at risk to cyber attacks.
Staff awareness of information security is extremely low. Critical vulnerabilities were detected at 47% of corporate systems investigated. The cyberspace landscape continues to evolve rapidly.
As the South African economy moves online, citizens, their computer systems and information technology infrastructure become enticing targets for an increasingly sophisticated cadre of cybercriminals and threat actors.
In order for South Africa to realise its full potential and to reap the full dividend from the development of the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to implement effective policies and awareness to stem the rising tide of cyber threats. A reliable and secure cyberspace is pivotal to national security, governance, economic development and prosperity.
It is therefore important to continue to improve the implementation of a co- ordinated, capacitated and well resourced state-led national response in the implementation of the National Cyber Security Policy Framework as an effort to fight cybercrime and improve our global rating on cyber security.
In an effort to guarantee strategic responsibility on cyberspace, we join other nations in calling for the establishment of a UN-based cyber space arbitration body to deal with conflict, aggression and malicious accusations and stymie an escalation of tensions across
the world. This will also help in promoting shared global governance and the sharing of benefits of bridging the digital divide.
While there is relative stability in the region, there are important challenges that are receiving our attention. This is going to continue. Similarly, there are serious challenges faced by other countries, such as Sudan, Libya, Niger, etc. These are the ongoing threats of violent extremism in the Sahel region and in East Africa.
With South Africa taking over the chairship of the African Union next year, we are going to upscale our monitoring and advice on these and other risks facing the continent, including risks emanating from weak institutions, systems of governance and climate change.
Our assumption of the AU Chair comes at a critical juncture when African countries are increasingly demonstrating confidence in the AU and Regional Economic Communities, RECs, at a time when such confidence in global multilateral institutions is declining rapidly.
The commitment to continental multilateralism and regional integration finds concrete expression in the signing and coming into force in April of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. As South
Africa advances the provisions of this treaty and further consolidates the continental partnership during this tenure at the helm of the AU, the Agency intends to enhance its own cooperation with partner intelligence services on the continent to collectively secure the policy objectives of the African Union and regional bodies.
To this end, we will enhance our liaison partnerships with all intelligence and security services on the continent and will use its membership of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa to continue interacting and exchanging information on collective security concerns.
Pressures on global governance systems institutions are an acute source of concern. No effort should be spared to reverse the threat posed by unilateralism and the imposition of punitive sanctions and tariffs on some countries and regions in pursuit of nefarious agendas.
There are important issues that require more global governance systems: the internet and information security; the regulation of private security companies, some of which command more resources and capabilities than numerous countries and often dabble in
intelligence themselves; the privatisation of war; the employment of robotics in future wars; and the fast developing notion of a space force as is being pursued by some countries. The above and other areas will receive our attention in this financial year.
Hon members and Chairperson, I would like to assure you that the recommendations as contained in the High-Level Review Panel report are receiving the requisite level of attention in terms of implementation. Understanding that due to their varying nature and magnitude, these will be implemented on a short, medium and long- term basis. We are going to come back to the committee with detailed proposals on this. We must also realise that the department does not have the type of budget required to implement everything that would be set out here.
I am grateful to the many professional men and women in the civilian intelligence structures throughout the length and breadth of our country who execute their responsibilities with the professional dedication, objectivity, impartiality and discipline as required in the craft of intelligence.
We rely on the collective wisdom and commitment of the entire intelligence community, the executive and Parliament to carry out
our constitutional mandate with diligence and care. The role and involvement of our community is also critical in building on the foundations of the past to strengthen our capacity to deliver on our mandate.
As Madiba said, I quote: "I would like to appeal once more to all the members of the intelligence to conduct themselves in such a manner that our people will be proud of you as our country's intelligence officers."
I have the pleasure to table the Budget Vote and policy statement of the agency for the financial year 2019-20. I thank you. [Applause.]