New correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser in Parliament. PHOTO: Chantall Presence/ANA
Johannesburg - Newspaper articles and revelations in the acclaimed Jacques Pauw book The President’s Keepers forms the cornerstone of the DA’s litigation to reverse the appointment of former spy boss Arthur Fraser as Correctional Services head.

On Friday, the DA made an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to review President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to appoint Fraser as Commissioner of Correctional Services on April 17.

In his founding affidavit, the DA’s federal executive chairman, James Selfe, provided various and past published newspaper articles to convince the court that Fraser was not an honest person. In one of the articles, published in April and which appeared in the Huffington Post, he was labelled as a “spy who saved Zuma” and claims this resulted in former president Jacob Zuma appointing him as director-general of the State Security Agency in 2016.

The DA also provided the court with an article which appeared in City Press and was penned by Pauw entitled “Spies plunder R1billion slush fund”.

The articles revealed that in 2010, the then inspector-general of intelligence, the late Faith Radebe, forwarded a report to the then intelligence minister David Mahlobo, which revealed that hundreds of millions of rand was sunk into a slush funded intended to improve South Africa's intelligence capabilities through the creation of the “Principal Agent Network” - a covert project set up in 2007 to strengthen the NIA's capacity to collect intelligence.

But it is alleged in that report that the money was spent on luxury cars, properties and farms for spies and their families.

According to the report, more than R20 million was spent to keep some of the 293 cars in a warehouse apparently belonging to Fraser's brother, Barry.

Detailing Fraser's perceived involvement, as head of the network, it was alleged that its computer was installed at his house, “but the intelligence and information gathered were never fed” into the NIA, SSA’s formal analysis and management structures.

Selfe said all these reports were handed to the Hawks for further investigations and National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution, but nothing happened.

Similar allegations were set out in detail in Pauw's book. He is subject to a legal challenge lodged by Fraser against him. In the book, Pauw wrote that Fraser operated a parallel intelligence structure which operated independently from the NIA. The author further wrote how Fraser allegedly managed to secure a warehouse belonging to his brother Barry. In the book, the author wrote that Fraser paid his brother R24m for the rental of the warehouse.

Pauw wrote: “Some of the cars had been unused for almost four years. There were other Fraser family working for PAN. Arthur's son Lyle became the floor manager at the warehouse, while his mother, Ms CF Fraser, was also a PAN agent.

"Both Barry and Ms Fraser were board members of a community-based organisation that dealt with conflict resolution at schools. PAN contributed R10m towards the organisation, although it had nothing to do with national security.”

Selfe also submitted a court application in which the incumbent Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe applied to the same court to interdict Fraser. Dintwe claims Fraser took away his security clearance in a bid to prevent him investigating claims in Pauw's book.

Other articles were published on IOL, TimesLive and the Sunday Times. “It is emphasised that the DA does not purport to establish that any of the allegations against Mr Fraser are true: this is a question that will be for another court on another day. For present purposes, and in order to establish that the president’s decision is unconstitutional, it is sufficient for the DA to demonstrate (as it has done) that prima facie, there is a reasonable suspicion that Mr Fraser has acted dishonestly and is not of good character,” Selfe said.

He added: “The DA accordingly asks this court to grant an order declaring that the president's appointment of Mr Fraser as national Commissioner of Correctional Services violated the president's constitutional obligation to appoint a (commissioner) who is sufficiently conscientious, has enough credibility to do this important job effectively and is of good character,” Selfe said. In his papers, Selfe gave a detailed account of the role of a national commissioner and contends that his party was of the view that Fraser was “not a fit and proper person to do the job”.

“No reasons were provided by the president for the decision, and, despite the drastic nature of the decision and its consequences for the rule of law and democracy, given the significant and well-founded suspicions widely held that Mr Fraser is not a suitable person to hold public office, the president has himself to date offered no public explanation for his decision,” Selfe insisted.

He said his party leader, Mmusi Maimane, upon learning of the appointment, wrote to Ramaphosa requesting reasons for the appointment but the president didn't bother to answer him.

Ramaphosa, Fraser, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha and Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla were expected to file responding affidavits.

Political Bureau