State Security Agency spooks at war: DG goes ’rogue’
Durban - A battle is ensuing between State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and her embattled acting Director General Loyiso Jafta as the nation’s state secrets were laid bare at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry over the past two days.
While Dlodlo unsuccessfully tried to block Jafta’s testimony at the commission, Jafta sang like a canary and testified on government’s slush funds and foreign political involvement.
Dlodlo, who was furnished with Jafta's affidavit on Monday night, swiftly tasked her lawyers to halt Jafta's testimony.
Dlodlo and Jafta's relationship is said to be severely strained as Jafta is believed to be snubbing Dlodlo and reporting directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In her attempt to block Jafta’s testimony, Dlodlo stipulated that if the acting director general were to be given the podium, it would expose and compromise the country's national security.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo did not agree with Dlodlo's stance.
The Daily News has it on good authority that things are said to be so tense between Dlodlo and Jafta that the latter has his own faction of "agents" inside the department.
According to sources, at the core of the battle between the two is how the media is being used and infiltrated to shield the current administration from being implicated in widespread corruption involving SOEs.
Attempts to solicit comment from Dlodlo through Independent Media’s politics unit drew a blank.
However, a leaked message from a highly placed source in South Africa’s security apparatus said there was a need for the SSA to be more vigilant when dealing with the media as it was running sources including highly placed individuals in government and private sector to obtain mostly false information and to peddle false and malicious information against the state, individuals and organisations.
“Why shouldn't the state collect intelligence about the media? The media doesn't reflect on the irregular massive benefitting by whites from the evergreen state contracts under the democratic dispensation. Infiltrating the judiciary and other organs of state and any private institutions and individuals is a component part of the covert intelligence activities,” read the message.
It added that by being apologetic about its SSA, the country would pay a heavy price by being undermined by Nyasaland and others.
“Eswatini is a small Kingdom but they are not apologetic about their State Intelligence capacity and activities. If you want to render any country vulnerable and useless, mess up with its State Security. I'm not implying that our SSA is perfect; it is not perfect and it will never be perfect; but don't destroy it by employing dirty political agendas,” read the message from the highly placed individual.
Zondo also responded to Jafta’s revelations that the agency was involved in the investigation of the attempted murder of Zuma allegedly by MaNtuli.
“Mrs Zuma was put in the custody of the SSA. She was in remand detention without having gone through due process. She was disagreeable to the circumstances in which she found herself in,” he said.
On Monday, director of the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Public Policy and African Studies and former safety and security minister Dr Sydney Mufamadi told the commission that part of the weaponisation of intelligence for partisan and factional purposes included “Project Tin Roof”.
Mufamadi sparked a lot of reactions with social media reminding him of “what he did to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela”.
Mufamadi was part of a project that investigated Madikizela-Mandela for murder, sowing seeds of division within the party and corruption.
Jafta assured the commission that all information contained in his affidavit, the matters he dealt with and the identities of the persons involved were those that are already in the public domain.
He said his evidence was limited to narrow issues at this stage as he is conscious of the need to respect matters of national security.
”The director-general is compelled in terms of section 10(4) of the Intelligence Services Act of 2002 to as far as reasonably practicable take steps to ensure that national security, intelligence collection methods, sources of information and the identity of members of the agency are protected from unauthorised disclosure,” explained Jafta.
Meanwhile, the African News Agency (ANA) has denied Mufamadi’s claims that it received funds from the SSA as part of infiltrating and influencing the media at home and abroad, in order, apparently, to counter bad publicity for the country.
ANA chief executive Vasantha Angamuthu said yesterday that ANA was entirely unaware of any sinister motive by the SSA and did not participate in, nor would have sanctioned, any business outside of our key focus, which is driving growth and development on the African continent using media.
She said at the time of entering into an agreement with the SSA, ANA was not aware of any sinister motives behind the agency’s approach.