Saturday, June 22, 2024

Africa: Greenpeace Africa Withdraws from State Spying Case after SSA Disclosure

Today, Greenpeace Africa has withdrawn its PAIA application to the The Minister in the Presidency Responsible for State Security to provide further information on the infiltration and surveillance of civil society organisations confirmed by the declassified Boast Report[1] in July 2022. A lengthy affidavit[2] from the SSA has put to rest concerns of infiltration, however Greenpeace Africa would still support a thorough investigation conducted by the IGI as to whether the methods of surveillance of civil society organisations have at all times been legal.

Greenpeace Africa was set to appear before the High Court of Cape Town on 18 January 2023 seeking to compel the SSA to grant access to the unredacted Boast Report, which would reveal the names of the operatives involved in infiltrating civil society organisations, and all records relating to interception and surveillance conducted against civil society organisations. The SSA prevented a court appearance by delivering an answering affidavit at the eleventh hour, and stated that such records do not exist and has refused to grant access to the unredacted Boast Report, citing section 39(b)(i) of PAIA (paras 128-139). However, the SSA gave details as to the extent of the surveillance conducted on Greenpeace Africa, and the reasons for identifying the organisation as a potential target.

The SSA has offered that Greenpeace Africa was identified as a potential security threat because our history of protest action indicated that we might participate in further similar activities at Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) or the budget speech, due to Government’s approval of the nuclear deal (paras 118-125).