National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele. Photo: Jason Boud

Gcwalisile Khanyile

The country’s most trusted spy outfit – the SAPS’s crime intelligence – is teetering on the brink of collapse owing to rampant mismanagement, fraud, corruption, nepotism and a lack of leadership.

A number of concerned operatives have written several dossiers raising concerns about how the mismanagement of crime intelligence is a security risk for the nation – given the historic problems that affected the perpetually ineffective National Intelligence Agency. In one of the confidential dossiers, they claim that “a dynasty like the one alleged in the British Intelligence Service is created… (and) it looks after itself and family interests through state resources. Meetings are scheduled in comfortable hideouts at state costs, only to find that it was family or friends’ outing”.

In a document, dated October 27, 2009, one PZ Magadla of counter- intelligence in KwaZulu-Natal reports that another dossier on “diverse issues of corruption and other ills” was being prepared. One senior leader based in Gauteng is accused of taking his girlfriend on an official trip to Singapore. A handful of crime intelligence operatives told The Sunday Independent that a report two weeks ago in this paper on jobs and promotions for General Bheki Cele’s pals was the tip of the iceberg since the organisation was badly infested.

They said it was disturbing that even those in charge of covert operations were caught in a web of criminality. This raised the serious question of who, in fact, was watching over the republic?

The NIA is battling to recover from divisions and paralysis that came with former director-general Billy Masetlha’s messy axing and the hoax e-mail saga.

Some in crime intelligence have pointed an accusing finger at crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, accusing him of acting outside of the law and allowing an environment of maladministration and mismanagement to fester under his stewardship. They allege Mdluli has his eyes removed from:

* Abuse of covert premises, where girlfriends are housed

* Abuse of a slush fund, with “loans” to operatives favoured by the leadership

* Some people who registered their children as crime intelligence sources in order to get income.

The situation appears worse in KZN with more than five top officials employing their sons, sisters, girlfriends, nieces and wives.

More than 30 officials in KZN crime intelligence are related to each other. Deputy national commissioner of police Ray Lalla and KZN head of crime intelligence Dina Moodley are fingered in a confidential nepotism report written after a mass crime intelligence meeting held at Amanzimtoti Civic Centre on KZN’s South Coast in October 2009.

Lalla’s daughter was, at the time the report was written, working for crime intelligence.

The report points out that nepotism poses a security risk due to the sensitive nature of the crime intelligence environment and the level of objectivity that is expected.

“The employment as well as the unfair promotion of relatives in that environment is a serious threat to security. Some of these people are employed and placed in covert premises. Those who are aware of such practices can blackmail those who perpetrate this practice and threaten them to the extent of forcing them to divulge classified state information,” it reads.

Several laid the blame on Mdluli’s leadership and the protection he appeared to receive from Cele. “It is a Zulu dynasty – I dare Cele to act against Mdluli. We have a Zulu-Nostra now. Cele knows what the problems with Mdluli are. Should the organisation collapse before he does something?” asked a source. The specific allegations against Mdluli are that:

* He appointed under-qualified people to lead experienced spooks because he did not trust them. They use the example of a human resources development officer who was appointed head of crime intelligence without a knowledge of the environment.

* He allegedly protects Major General Solly Lazarus, in charge of the spooks slush fund, from the vetting staff who want to subject him to a vetting process.

* He and Lazarus created 250 new posts without consulting HR – and advertised the posts without mentioning them as SAPS posts and thus denying many opportunities of promotions.

* He recommended to Cele the promotion of Constable Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, who jumped seven ranks to become a colonel. This was in spite of the fact that Ximba was facing a case of assault with grievous bodily harm which was opened at Johannesburg Central. He is perceived as a close acquaintance of Mdluli.

* Like ministers, Mdluli drives two official cars – a Q7 and a Mercedes – and has assigned to himself a driver and a bodyguard even though there is no such policy provision for his post.

Those who spoke to The Sunday Independent wanted to know what Cele was doing about the mess.

The SAPS’ spokesperson, Nonkululeko Mbatha said the police management wished not to comment about the allegations.

However she said they were aware of them. Mdluli couldn’t be reached on his cellphone yesterday and also did not return text messages sent to him.

Two other sources at senior level said that Cele was “extremely concerned” about the leadership paralysis in crime intelligence and was allegedly working behind the scenes to restore order.

Other officials fingered are the retired KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Hamilton Ngidi, KZN commander of crime intelligence operations Director SO Ndlovu, BB Mncwango cluster commander of Ulundi, Captain SE Madikane Donnybrook cluster commander, Colonel GJ Ncube commander of the Operational Intelligence Analysis Centre and others.

Moodley allegedly brought in his brother who was working for the Department of Correctional Services and gave him a captain’s rank.

Moodley’s brother was placed on undercover gathering and resigned after just over a year.

Ngidi is alleged to have brought in his stepdaughter (a daughter out of wedlock by his wife) as a clerk. She was soon promoted to captain. She then became a lieutenant colonel at crime intelligence after a couple of years.

Ndlovu, according to the report, employed his girlfriend to the rank of lieutenant colonel at the security intelligence division five months after she had joined crime intelligence as a detective.

Mncwango employed his son, Madikane employed his sister who is, according to the report, stationed at Umlazi crime intelligence while Ncube employed his sister’s daughter. - Sunday Independent