Johannesburg - A group of concerned former MK (Umkhonto weSizwe) intelligence operatives have slammed the Zondo commission for the way it handled testimony related to the alleged corruption and capturing of the State Security Agency (SSA).
The grouping which has organised itself under the banner of "ANC Cadres" said it was not opposed to the unearthing of alleged corruption by the commission, but due to the sensitivity of the matter, testimonies should have been held in-camera.
This was in reference to the explosive testimony of former state security minister, Dr Sydney Mufamadi, the acting director-general at SSA, Loyiso Jafta, and two other witnesses whose identities were protected.
Essentially, the forum argues that their testimony laid bare how the spy agency works. Now, these former members claim that with their own experience as former intelligence operatives, the state has been stripped naked.
One prominent member of the forum is retired army general, Maomela Motau. In September last year Motau, who is the national convenor of the ANC turnaround strategy programme, issued a document on how to renew the ANC. Among his suggestions, he called for the entire leadership of the ANC to vacate office and the party be run by an interim structure. That proposal was shot down by ANC national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe.
In a statement on Sunday, the forum said it was concerned about the laying bare of state secrets and intelligence matters before the Zondo commission and claimed that ANC factions were using the commission to overpower one another.
“As cadres of the African National Congress who amongst them have a significant number that is experienced in matters of state security and intelligence, we are unsettled by the recklessness with which the testimony or submissions relating to the SSA was handled.
“Indeed, we are unequivocally in support of steps that are or must and should be taken to unearth the truth about corruption and other malfeasances and in this vein we support all honest and principled efforts including the work that is performed by various commissions and law enforcement agencies to rid our country of the scourge of plundering state resources whilst our people face the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“We are, however, gravely concerned by our overzealousness to root out corruption that is having unintended consequences of stripping our country naked like it recently happened at the Zondo Commission,“ the forum said.
“A responsible leadership should have approached that session differently. For example, it could have been prudent to hold the hearings in camera as one of the options open to the Commission. This option is neither a novelty nor an attempt at burying the truth but a mature, impassionate approach that has been utilized before as it takes into serious cognizance the sensitivity of matters intelligence that obviously impact directly on national security. In any event, our country's history is replete with examples that have set a precedence.
“Whilst disappointed we are not necessarily surprised given that our country generally and the ANC specifically are engulfed by an ever deepening leadership crisis.
“In the recent past, our country has experienced and is still experiencing the passiveness of, if not dereliction by the ANC Top 6, NEC, PECs and RECs. Coupled with this is the absence of an Alliance-driven intervention whilst pre-occupation with factionalistic leadership succession bargaining behind the scenes abound at the expense of self-renewal, repositioning and re-engineering of the ANC,” reads the statement issued by the forum.
Furthermore, the forum said the country is in this state because the fight against corruption is selective.
“Currently the country has had its security endangered in the name of transparency whilst other avenues to achieve the same objective (fighting and uprooting corruption) are ignored for reasons best known to the powers that be.”
The spokesperson of the forum Mogomotsi Mogodiri denied that they calling for leadership change because are batting for the ANC faction aligned to former president Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule.
“It’s a lie. Our stance is clear that we want both factions of the ANC to exit the stage because they cannot achieve the mission of reviving it,” he told Independent Media on Sunday.
Mogodiri admitted that they are yet to meet with the leadership of the ANC to air their views but they are working on securing a meeting in the near future.
ANC national spokesperson, Pule Mabe, did not respond to queries regarding the letter from the forum. Also not responding was the spokesperson of the Zondo commission, Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela.