Mahlobo pours cold water over report claiming SSA was looted, used in ANC factional fights
Johannesburg - Former state security minister David Mahlobo has shrugged off calls for action to be taken against him in the wake of a report which found that the State Security Agency (SSA) was looted and used in ANC factional fights.
On Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the publication of the report of the high-level review panel on the SSA that he appointed in June 2018 to assess the integrity of the agency.
“A key finding of the panel is that there has been political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation, and other prescripts,” the Presidency said.
The report was redacted for public consumption in view of the fact that the full report contained the names and identities of persons who could not be named at this point, as well as details of operational matters that would compromise the work of the SSA, the Presidency said.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said on Sunday while the report did not specifically name those implicated, by looking at periods of tenure in the report it was clear former state security ministers Siyabonga Cwele and Mahlobo were complicit in “executive overspill”.
“The DA calls for the immediate suspension from public services of all those implicated. Criminal charges must also be laid to finally bring to book those who have looted the SSA for the nefarious ends of ex-president Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and their corrupt cronies,” he said.
Mahlobo said he had not seen the DA statement so he would not comment on it. He also told Independent Media the report did not implicate him. “That report does not make references to any name. It makes general observations, but certain people in the media have tried to deduce names and inferences,” Mahlobo said.
ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said he could not comment on the panel’s report, noting the party would issue a statement on the matter. Cwele, who is currently home affairs minister, could not be reached for comment.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko could not be reached for comment either. The report found that there was serious politicisation and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade, based on factions in the governing party.
It said the civilian intelligence community had been turned into a private resource to serve the political and personal interests of individuals. The report called for firm consequences for those who issued manifestly illegal orders and those who wittingly carried them out.
“Members of the SSA in particular, as well as senior politicians, have been in breach of the constitutional provisions regarding obeying a manifestly illegal order and the injunction not to further the interests of any political party in a partisan manner.”
The panel also found failure to implement financial controls at the SSA.
“A key element of this is the fact that most of the operational financial transactions of the agency are done by means of cash. This is to hide the fact that the origins of the payments are the SSA.”
It said there were a large number of manifestly illegal orders issued, reportedly from the executive level.