Phone tapping and signal jamming threat in SA

The Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane has warned that the ANC may become worse than the National Party, which oversaw the implementation of apartheid.

It follows accusations of signal jamming and mobile phone tapping by the ruling party, the latter reportedly taking place in Parliament during the state of the nation address.

“The jamming of the cellular signal on Thursday was an unprecedented contravention of media freedom,” the DA said in a statement on Sunday.

All indications are that the jamming of the signal was illegal, the DA said.

The Presidency has denied all knowledge of the incident.

Several sources, however, claim that the signal was restored on the instruction of Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, has announced that Parliament will be conducting an inquiry into the signal jamming. However, following her comments yesterday that the violent ejection of EFF MPs was “a beautiful opportunity to deal with those irritants”, few people will hold out any hope of an impartial parliamentary investigation into the matter.

“We know already of cellphones being tapped for information…installing jamming devices in parliament to stop broadcasts – these are no different in North Korea, Maimane said.

“Whilst the ANC is now showing trends similar to the NAts (National Party), they will be worse than them,” Maimane said, describing it as the ‘greatest tragedy’.

Cabinet ministers on Sunday termed the loss of mobile signal in the National Assembly during the opening of Parliament a “technical glitch”.

“I will call it a technical glitch until there is a full investigation called upon by the presidency and Parliament to say we need to all know what happened, and then call it by its rightful name,” International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a media briefing by Cabinet’s international co-operation, trade and security cluster.

The M&G reported as long ago as 2011, that the country’s  intelligence agencies routinely access the private mobile phone and email conversations of its citizens.

Last year, Vodafone, the parent company of SA operator, Vodacom, said that government agencies in a few of its operating countries have direct access to its network, which allows them to listen in on calls.

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Phone tapping and signal jamming threat in SA