South Africa was aware of UK’s

South Africa was aware of UK’s spying operation in 2009, claims source

According to a source in the international relations department the SA government found out that its delegation was spied on by the British intelligence during London G20 summit in 2009, and was not surprised by the spying but by the way in which it was carried out.

South Africa was aware of UK’s


South Africa’s department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) has revealed that it knew the British were spying on its delegates at the London G20 meeting in 2009.

A source from the department, who preferred to remain unnamed, told the Mail&Guardian that the information published by  the Guardian newspaper last weekend was no news for the SA government, which became aware of the incident in 2009, but decided to deal with the issue quietly to avoid embarrassment.

“What was carried in that article is something we already knew,” said the insider.

Last week the Guardian published a series of articles about UK’s spying on South Africa, Turkey and Russia after it obtained documents from a former CIA agent, Edward Snowden.

According to the Dirco source, as a result of the surveillance by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, the SA government strengthened security measures for all its foreign delegations, introducing for example a ban on ministers using any host country’s communications tools.
The insider claimed that this week the UK admitted to its South African counterparts that its actions during 2009 G20 summits were wrong.
South Africa declared that the spying incident would not hurt “solid, strong and cordial” relations with the UK, but Dirco demanded British authorities take action against those who carried out the espionage operation in 2009.
This demand might be hard to meet as the Guardian’s report said that leaked documents suggested those orders came from a senior level. The only official comment from British Prime Minsiter David Cameron was that the government does not comment on security issues.
The Dirco insider acknowledged that governments spying on each other was a widely accepted practice, but the unconventional way, in which the UK did it was wrong, because “they deliberately set up countries that they spied on. That’s not a conventional way of doing things. That’s why all the countries affected reacted with anger. As much as we know we spy on each other, don’t get caught.”
The aim of the UK’s operation was reportedly to find out what negotiating position  South Africa would take on global economics at the G20 summit.

The Dirco source perceived the British spying as a sort of prestige: “If anyone can go to that extent to spy on you, it means they’re tired of second guessing and they take you as a very serious player.”

According to the Guardian, British spies prepared special internet cafes, which allowed them to monitor emails and phone calls of South African delegates through Blackberry devices.

Earlier this week the Democratic Alliance spokesperson on defence and military veterans, David Maynier, said that Dirco was “caught with their electronic pants down.”

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the upcoming bilateral meeting between UK and South Africa would be “an opportunity to raise anything that we believe affects our relationship.