File Picture: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
File Picture: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa awaits inquiry report before moving on former SSA leaders

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Aug 12, 2021

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QUESTIONED on multiple allegations of corruption by former State Security Agency (SSA) leaders, President Cyril Ramaphosa says he awaits the completion of the Zondo commission report before he takes action.

Ramaphosa took the stand at the inquiry on Thursday and faced several questions about the state of the State Security Agency.

Evidence leader for the commission advocate Paul Pretorius laid statements on the evidence heard about the agency and specifically its former leader Arthur Fraser who served as director-general until 2017.

Fraser had run the Principal Agent Network, an intelligence operation with a budget of R600 million, which was allegedly used to fund illegal and political operations.

He was later appointed as national correctional services commissioner in 2018 – a move that raised concerns.

The inquiry had also heard evidence of how former state security minister David Mahlobo had abused SSA funds. An SSA employee testified at the inquiry that she had been requested to drop off more than R1 million at the home of Mahlobo.

David Mahlobo now serves as deputy minister of water and sanitation.

Ramaphosa said he became aware of the extent of the issues at the SSA, from the high-level panel report he had commissioned to investigate the agency. Ramaphosa made the report public in 2019.

"I may not be able to pinpoint the time and date and all that. But I am aware of it, and I've been aware of it. And one of the processes of getting to the bottom of this, and dealing with it," he said.

When asked why Mahlobo and Fraser had remained in government service and not been removed, Ramaphosa said he was waiting for the Zondo commission's report before taking action.

"Yes, they are on the radar screen, I decided to wait for this process to complete and I shall soon have this report in my hands," Ramaphosa said.

The president also used the opportunity to explain why he had decided to bring the agency into the Presidency. He announced the moved a week ago when announcing a Cabinet reconfiguration.

"I took the decision to bring state security into the Presidency because it is an asset of our nation. It is important that it should be seen to be so, and there must be confidence in this asset of our nation and never to be seen to be serving certain sections of our nation.

"It is an agency that has been dogged with a lot of controversies, it has a lot of good people in it and we just need to realign its work. It is possible that in time to come, we may designate a person who can be in charge.

“For now, I have deemed it proper to realign it and have it in the Presidency. It is viewed as an important arm of the nation."

The inquiry continues.


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