ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Former police minister and current head of ANC elections Fikile Mbalula claims there was a time he was being spied on by rogue intelligence elements.

Mbalula on Tuesday told Independent Media he was not surprised by reports that he was placed under surveillance and his cellphone intercepted by spooks within the State Security Agency.

His comments came after the emergence of an anonymous affidavit - alleged to have been penned by a former spy - which claimed that cabinet ministers, leaders of non-governmental organisations, judges and trade unions were spied on between 2015 and last year.

The affidavit named the outspoken Mbalula, who is also a former sports minister, as one of the 38 people who was spied on.

The document - which was prepared as part of whistle-blowing in June last year - came to light days after the release of the report of a review panel into the State Security Agency, which found that there were serious politicisation and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade based on factions within the governing party.

Mbalula said he was unaware of the affidavit.

“I know I was followed and I was listened to. I know within the state that I can’t wake up and listen to somebody’s phone,” he said.

“Anything beyond that is rogueness. Those who used the state to undermine the rule of law must face the consequences,” Mbalula said.

He was pleased that the government was attending to the illegal intelligence activities.

“We need to give that space a chance. For any of us to comment out of turn will simply jeopardise what the government is doing... ” Mbalula said.

Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who was instrumental in getting the former intelligence agent to depose the affidavit, said the outputs of the review panel seemed to have gone far deeper than merely the contents of the affidavit and had thus opened the proverbial can of worms.

“I believe the president did the right thing in making the high-level review public; it is a matter of grave public interest,” O’Sullivan said.

The SACP also weighed in on the matter and called for stern legal action against all those who were complicit in the abuse of state intelligence services. The anonymous affidavit claims SACP leader Solly Mapaila is also one those spied on.

“The SACP also reserves its own rights to lay criminal charges and make civil claims against those who might have violated the rights of any of its leadership through such rogue and illegal intelligence activities,” the party said.

On becoming aware that it was one of the targets of criminal and illegal rogue intelligence activities, it had lodged complaints with the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, the SACP added.

“We urge the IGI to conclude his investigations without any further delay. It is in the interests of our country that we must go to the bottom of this rot.”

Freedom Under Law (FUL) chief executive Nicole Fritz, who was also listed among the 38 surveilled persons, said the suggestion that either her or FUL warranted surveillance was not only preposterous but profoundly disturbing.

“The pursuit of a perfectly law-abiding person and an equally respectable rule-of-law agency reflects an alarming level of paranoia among securocrats."

Former president Jacob Zuma’s foundation said the panel report didn’t mention his name.

“Why must former president Zuma answer questions on a report that is said to investigate from the year 2005? Former president Zuma became the president of South Africa in 2009.”

Political Bureau