President Jacob Zuma File picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters
Johannesburg - The fallout among ANC officials over the mysterious spy report alleged to be at the centre of President Jacob Zuma’s firing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan is set to deepen.

The SA Communist Party (SACP) confirmed that its officials would meet Intelligence inspector-general Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe on Monday over the covert intelligence report. The Sunday Independent has seen the SACP’s letter of complaint to Dintwe asking to know the origins of the report.

In the letter, dated April 4, SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila wants to know whether the report was sanctioned by State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

“The SACP was informed that an intelligence briefing was submitted to the president, comrade Jacob Zuma, indicating that former minister of finance comrade Pravin Gordhan and the former deputy minister of finance comrade Mcebisi Jonas were interacting with a number of persons internationally towards the removal of the ANC from power,” he said.

Mapaila said given the seriousness of the report, they wanted to know who were the authors and sources, and the method that was used to compile it.

The party also wanted to know who and how the report was commissioned and what was the basis for it.

“Was the commissioning from within state security intelligence institutions? What preventative mechanisms were followed by the state security to frustrate and even stop the alleged engagements?” he asked.

When contacted, Dintwe referred questions to his spokesperson, advocate Jay Govender.

“We confirm that we have received a complaint from the SACP. We further confirm that we are investigating the matter. However, at this moment it’s going to be difficult to put time frames on how long the investigation is going to take,” said Govender.

On Wednesday, Zuma filed a court application challenging the DA to produce the so-called intelligence report which the opposition party alleged he used as basis to axe Gordhan and Jonas.

The move cast a spotlight on the ANC top officials in the national executive committee who claimed Zuma told them in a meeting that he based his decision to oust Gordhan and Jonas on an intelligence report.

During a media briefing at the ANC Luthuli House headquarters in Joburg on April 5, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told journalists the report caused unhappiness among leaders.

“The issue of the intelligence report complicated the matter, creating a lot of unhappiness. (It) presented as the only reason for his (Gordhan) removal, which is unfortunate and incorrect.”

In a media statement on April 1, ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize berated the “subsequent surfacing of an intelligence report”, which he dismissed as “dubious at the least”.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said he had raised his concern and objection on Gordhan’s removal, “largely because he was being removed based on an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations about the (former) minister of finance and his (former) deputy going to London to mobilise financial markets against our country.”

Mapaila this week confirmed that Zuma did mention the report during a meeting with the party’s leadership. He would not elaborate further. SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo asked why the existence of the report was being “denied” after the matter had been brought before the courts. “Several weeks have passed since the matter was confirmed in public that there was mention of an intelligence report in a meeting,” he said.

“Why are they denying the existence of the report after the matter has been brought before the courts?”

So angry was Mapaila that he told eNCA this week that the president was “getting used to lying and lying to the political leadership of the alliance”.

The SACP officials had a meeting with ANC officials before the reshuffle. “This is extremely unacceptable because indeed in that meeting he did indicate that he is basing his main reason to remove comrade Pravin on the basis of this intelligence report.

“We asked him tough questions on that particular meeting, whether he could rely on the report and so forth; he said we can vouch for him, it’s from within state institutions, it’s reliable.

“But now instead of producing it, he’s trying to run away from it and I think that the leadership of the movement should be ashamed of itself to allow a comrade to actually take them for granted in the manner that he does,” he added.

Asked whether he still stuck by his statement that Zuma spoke about the report, Mantashe said: “You are collecting evidence for the DA against the president. I am not going to do it.”

Mkhize referred questions to ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa. Kodwa said “the matter is before the courts; let’s respect the courts.” Ramaphosa cited the same reason when he did not reply to an oral question in Parliament on Thursday.

On Saturday, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa would only say: “He (Ramaphosa) was asked the same question in Parliament and he responded by saying the matter is before the courts and sub judice. As he respects the law, he won’t comment,” he said.

Mahlobo previously distanced his department from the report, saying it did not emanate from them. Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, had not responded to text questions at the time of publication.

The Sunday Independent