Burgess favoured to bag top spook position

25 February 2015 - 02:36 By Jan-Jan Joubert

Cecil Burgess, the former ANC MP who steered the secrecy bill through parliament, has now emerged as the front runner to become South Africa's new inspector-general of intelligence.

Burgess was the only person to be shortlisted for the low-profile but high-powered job by the seven MPs serving on a subcommittee of the parliamentary joint standing committee on intelligence.

Surprisingly, two of the seven MPs who shortlisted him - Dirk Stubbe of the DA and Bantu Holomisa of the UDM - are opposition members.

The inspector-general holds the powerful position of judging whether all state intelligence agencies, including crime intelligence and military intelligence, act lawfully and whether classified information should be shared, among other functions.

The incumbent, Faith Radebe, withdrew her name yesterday amid indications that the ANC favoured Burgess.

Committee chairman and senior ANC MP Connie September yesterday lashed out at the media for suggesting that Burgess would get the nod, saying this amounted to "speculation and character assassination".