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Spies, lies and slush funds

Andre Visagie. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Andre Visagie. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Jun 14, 2012


Senior crime intelligence officials planted paid informers to make fake right-wing related threats against the government – a part of a wider strategy to loot the unit’s Secret Service Account for personal benefit.

Spy bosses worked their way into the R600 million-a-year slush fund by actively fabricating information to create a false impression of imminent, unprecedented attacks against black people and the ANC in particular, said law enforcement agency sources.

The Star Africa revealed that in the run up to the ANC’s centenary celebrations in the Free State in January, spy masters in the North West used one of their informers to threaten chaos and violence against the ruling party unless it stemmed farm attacks.

Claiming to have detected a threat, they requested and got additional money, believed to be millions, from the slush fund on the pretext they wanted to remunerate “sources” who tipped them off.

A masked man had made his chilling threats in a recorded video last year alongside right-winger Andre Visagie, a former secretary general of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) who broke away from the organisation and formed his the Geloftevolk Republikeine (GVR).

The video was posted on video-sharing website YouTube, sparking fear and costly investigations by various law-enforcement agencies.

Three security cluster sources said the threats were behind the police’s decision to permanently deploy a Nyala outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in the Joburg CBD.

A confidential document penned by one of the investigators, a copy of which is in The Star Africa’s possession, painted a picture of a staged affair meant to justify the looting of the fund by intelligence operatives.

The five-page document outlined the methods used and gave the names of those involved – informers and their police handlers – as well as their backgrounds.

A senior national police official said he was “aware” of the scam, adding that some of those implicated had since offered evidence in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

He confirmed that spy bosses cited source remuneration as one of the reasons for requesting more resources.

“You can say, there is a group I want to impress; I need a Gucci bag and you will get it. At times, there is never a follow-up on whether there was any infiltration.”

The Star Africa understands that the money was shared among those who masterminded the scam.

North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said that they were “not aware” of any abuse of the slush fund by provincial officers.

He said the provincial commissioner would investigate and charge those implicated because he viewed the allegations “seriously”.

While the looting of the fund intensified under suspended Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, The Star Africa understands his predecessors also abused it for decades. Mdluli has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The document said investigators found that a former police reservist-turned-crime intelligence informer had made the threats. The man’s handlers were named as Hendrick Swart and Colonel Pretorius. The duo refused to comment.

North West crime intelligence boss Nick Engelbrecht referred all enquiries to Ngubane, who refused to comment on allegations that the threats had been staged with Swart and Pretorius’s blessings.

Visagie said he would comment after viewing the YouTube video.

Lindela Mashigo, SAPS’ national spokesman, did not respond to a list of questions.

The Star

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