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Boast Report’ Exposes SSA’s Spying Activities on Civil Society Organizations

By Neelam Rahim

Civil society organizations Greenpeace Africa’s right to know and right to protest have released the declassified boast report from the Zondo commission into state capture. The report references some questionable spying activities undertaken by the State Security Agency during the state capture era. It contains details of SSA operations intended to surveil and infiltrate NGOs and student movements.

In discussion with Radio Islam, Greenpeace Africa’s Melita Steele explains that the boast report is a declassified SSA report called the boast report as there’s an operative called Brave, who’s essentially boasting in the report about the operations of his team.

“The report included the infiltration and surveillance of civil society organizations, student movements, and even political party issues, which is the report’s baseline. However, it does not include the surveillance or infiltration details. We don’t have the names of who did it, and we don’t have the details of at what level it happened. But the Post report is as far as we have managed to get in terms of trying to uncover the state of surveillance and infiltration of civil society organizations in South Africa,” as per Melita.

Difficult to verify it independently the report has come through the Zondo commission and FSA. In this case, it was cross-checked through formal channels before being released to Greenpeace Africa and its partners. 

According to Melita, the report covers the period from 2016 to 2017. And the report outlines that the infiltration and surveillance aimed at understanding structures and how organizations approach activism. 

“That’s the level of detail that we have, essentially, but we do not know the extent of the infiltration. And one of the things we’re calling for is full disclosure around the extent of the infiltration and surveillance enacted against our organization,” says Melita.

Melita added, “Greenpeace would argue that transparent, honest, and accountable government wouldn’t be threatened by the actions of a healthy civil society. We believe that in South Africa, we have the right to Association the freedom of expression. And if such a thing as surveillance or infiltration were considered, there would have to be a clear definition of a threat.”

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