Today's Big Stories

#SpyCables are SA's biggest intelligence leak, ISIS-SA links, Makhura on e-tolls

Al Jazeera #SpyCables are biggest intelligence leak for SA

Pic credit: Al Jazeera

EWN's Ray White on this story by Al Jazeera: a digital leak to Al Jazeera of hundreds of secret intelligence documents from the world's spy agencies has offered an unprecedented insight into the operational dealings of the realm of global espionage. Over the coming days, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit is publishing 'The Spy Cables’, in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper. Ranging from confidential to top secret, the documents come from the world’s top agencies including Israel’s Mossad, Britain’s MI6, Russia’s FSB and from South Africa, which now reportedly faces its largest and possibly most damaging leak. The documents span a period from 2006 until the end of 2014 and are unlike the documents from US operative Edward Snowden, which focused on electronic signals intelligence; the ‘Spy Cables’ deal with human intelligence.

Here are some of the released #SpyCables thus far:

Investigation into SA man with alleged links to ISIS

FILE: The profile picture from Abu Hurayra's now-suspended Twitter feed, showing him in full Islamic State regalia. Picture: Supplied

EWN's Barry Bateman on this story: questions have emerged over the authenticity of pictures and information purporting to show a South African who has joined the ranks of Islamic State in Syria. The Daily Maverick on Monday reported it had conducted an interview with a man claiming to be an 18-year-old from Johannesburg who crossed into Syria from Turkey in January. While experts for the Daily Maverick confirmed the man's social media accounts show elements were created in South Africa - with others in Syria - the information is not conclusive. African Defence Review’s John Stupart is cautious saying more details about this person is needed: “We need to verify if this individual is in fact in Syria but it does raise certain questions - if he is in Syria, how did he get there?” Meanwhile, Red24 Security Analyst Ryan Cumming says it’s not the first time information has emerged about South Africans allegedly fighting for ISIS. Further, it is understood government has no record of any South Africans fighting in Syria.

To listen to 702's Xolani Gwala's conversation with Daily Maverick's Simon Allison on this matter, go here.

Makhura criticised for not concluding on e-tolls

EWN's Mia Lindeque on this story: opposition parties in the Gauteng Legislature have slated Premier David Makhura for failing to address the e-tolling issue when he delivered his State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Monday. National and provincial governments are still in talks to determine how motorists are going to help pay back the debt for the upgraded roads. Makhura promised there would be an announcement on the way forward regarding e-tolls by the end of this month.

Opposition parties meanwhile said they were disappointed with the fact that the premier didn’t announce the final decision on e-tolling during his Sopa. The DA's John Moodey said it was an obvious elephant in the room on Monday, saying that a referendum should be held with the people of Gauteng and the Premier should take the results back to his counterparts. The EFF’s Mandisa Mashego also wasn’t happy with the lack of details surrounding e-tolling: “We have evidence that they presented nothing but lies, because last year the premier presented another string of empty promises that were unrealistic in terms of achievement.” Makhura however hinted in his speech that there would be “major financial relief” for motorists once the final decision is announced.

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