President Cyril Ramaphosa  Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Ramaphosa pushed to act on spy report

By MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA Time of article published Mar 12, 2019

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Johannesburg - Pressure is mounting on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act against those implicated in illegal activities at the State Security Agency (SSA).

On Monday, the ANC’s alliance partner, Cosatu, led the charge for Ramaphosa to act immediately after his public release of the report on the probe into the SSA, which found that the agency’s funds were looted and used for the political benefit of former president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma has also hit back, saying he was not approached when the report was compiled, warning that he hoped people were not opening a can of worms. Zuma also claimed that the panel had two “apartheid spies”.

The report of the panel, led by former minister Sydney Mufamadi, found there had been a serious politicisation and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade based on factions in the ANC.

It also called for forensic and other investigations into the breaches of financial and other controls, especially with regard to the Principal Agent Network project and special operations.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said they noted with concern that the SSA was used to fight ANC internal battles in the build-up to its conference.

“The federation calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act against all those who are implicated in this report and also work to cleanse the SSA of these rogue elements,” Pamla said.

Pamla said they were against any use of state apparatus against private citizens and civil-society organisations for political purposes.

“We demand that the looted monies that were wasted by the SSA be recovered and that all the implicated thieves be prosecuted.”

Although the report did not name people, Pamla named former state security minister David Mahlobo as among those that “should be held accountable for the deterioration, corruption and anarchy that took place at SSA under his watch”.

The South African Federation of Trade Union has also called on Ramaphosa to dismiss Department of Correctional Services Arthur Fraser and Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele with immediate effect.

Fraser was previously head of the SSA and Cwele was minister of state security during some of the period covered by the report.

Civil-society organisation Right2Know said the report confirmed the suspicions they had for a long time that the SSA had targeted the Right2Know specifically.

“We firmly believe that these rogue securocrats are a threat to our democracy and they must be dealt with accordingly.

“As such, we demand that those who engaged in these criminal activities and gross abuses are named, investigated and disciplined and/or prosecuted.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, could not be reached for comment.

On the sidelines of the election campaign in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa weighed in on the public release of the report, saying it was a step in the right direction.

“It is good to be transparent and let these things come out so that we can repair whatever damage has been done in the past. I am really relaxed that we are on a really good and strong path and this is how we continue to build the state,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said the report was currently being discussed within the intelligence community before the implementation of its recommendations.

“Statecraft is about making sure that you repair whatever damage has been done and you move forward, never looking backwards too much. I think we are building a very good foundation and I am assured that we are now going to have a properly realigned State Security Agency as well as mane other agencies in our state,” he said.

Mahlobo could not be reached. Cwele’s spokesperson Siya Qoza asked questions to be sent to the minister, who also could not be reached for comment.

On Sunday, both leaders indicated that the report did not implicate them and also did not mention their names.

When Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo was asked to facilitate an interview with Fraser, he said the difficulty with the report was that it did not mention names.

“For one to comment, you require absolute confidence that you are indeed implicated whether positively or negatively.

“Hence Mr Arthur Fraser is unable to provide any input at this stage,” Nxumalo said.

Political Bureau

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