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AFRICA/CARIBBEAN NOW: Masondo Fills Position on Intelligence Committee

The joint standing committee on intelligence is expected to get down to business after Parliament confirmed that Amos Masondo has been appointed chairperson.

Masondo takes over from Charles Nqakula, who was appointed National Security Adviser to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Sunday Independent reported Oct. 28.

Parties have been complaining for months that the intelligence committee has been without a chairperson after Nqakula’s departure.

Masondo was the co-chairperson of the ethics committee before his redeployment to the joint standing committee on intelligence.

Another co-chairperson of the ethics committee Omie Singh said he worked well with Masondo. He said his redeployment to the intelligence committee would add value to the work of that committee and Parliament.

“I want to wish my co-chairperson Masondo all the best in his new portfolio in the joint standing committee on intelligence. I learned a lot from him in the last four years,” said Singh.

Masondo could not be reached for comment.

But parties had previously complained to Speaker Baleka Mbete that Parliament needed to appoint the new chairperson.

They said the State Security Agency was facing serious challenges, and the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Sethlomamaru Dintwe, was investigating some of the allegations against former SSA head Arthur Fraser.

On the other hand, Ramaphosa has appointed a panel of experts to investigate the problems and some allegations in the SSA. The panel, chaired by former cabinet minister Sydney Mafumadi, was expected to table its report to Ramaphosa last month, but it requested an extension from the Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

Ramaphosa had raised concerns about the state of affairs in the SSA in Parliament a few months ago and said the panel would be able to help deal with some of the problems.

Meanwhile, the ethics committee said it will hear the case against EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu early next month. This relates to the alleged assault of a journalist in the Parliamentary precinct by Shivambu a few months ago. This complaint will be dealt with separately from the other — Shivambu’s alleged involvement in the VBS Mutual Bank heist saga.

Several politicians have been fingered for looting VBS by the South African Reserve Bank. However, some of those implicated in the report have promised to challenge it in court.

Jamaican Public Promised Access to New Parliament Building

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the public will have access to the new Houses of Parliament building being proposed for development in a section of the 52-acre National Heroes Park in Kingston.

“It is the public’s building, because it will be within a park, and there is no intention whatsoever to close off this area from the surrounding communities,” the prime minister said.

He was speaking at a town hall meeting organized by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) at the Park on Thursday, October 25, to discuss the Government Circle Project being proposed for the area.

The project, being spearheaded by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), will also entail the construction of new offices for 14 government ministries and improved housing on some 300 acres of land in several communities around the Park.

Communities adjacent to the Park include Allman Town, Campbell Town, Woodford Park and Fletchers Land.

Mr. Holness said it is proposed to develop the Park with the necessary amenities, “but more importantly, with the security to ensure that the facility is safe.”

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