ANC top brass meets with Ramaphosa, Dlodlo after damaging revelations at Zondo Commission
Johannesburg - A veil of secrecy has engulfed details about an exclusive and sensitive meeting between the ANC’s Top 6 and the Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo, amid visible cracks within the State Security Agency (SSA) which were laid bare before the Zondo Commission last week.
On Tuesday, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed that a meeting between the Top 6, which included President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Dlodlo was held, but declined to give details, including the agenda.
“You have to be in the ANC Top 6 to know about the details,” Mabe said.
A source at Luthuli House said that the top six meeting attempted to “manage” the damage felt by the ANC because of evidence given by last week’s witnesses at the commission.
According to the source, the Top 6 is concerned about former SSA director-general Arthur Fraser’s testimony, and how it could implicate Ramaphosa.
Fraser has threatened to reveal classified security files on the president.
Despite media reports that in the meeting Dlodlo had apparently told her political bosses of her intention to replace SSA acting director-general Loyiso Jafta for allegedly not meeting the requirements to hold that position on a permanent basis, Mabe was adamant that the meeting was a routine consultation.
“National officials regularly meet with officials who are deployed in certain positions in government, like State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo. It was not an anomaly. The meeting dealt with the operations of the organisation. It is standard,” Mabe said.
Mabe did not, however, want to comment on media reports that Dlodlo told her party bosses that she was looking for a candidate to take over the agency and to restore stability, apparently claiming that Jafta did not have the requisite post-graduate qualification to continue in that job on a permanent basis.
Dlodlo was also contacted for comment, but referred all enquiries to Mabe.
Despite those in the know declining to confirm or deny the reports, a national local media agency was adamant that two of their sources revealed to it that the Top 6 had apparently advised: “Sort out the mess in the intelligence (department).”
Quoting their sources, the agency said one of them said: “We are not saying there are no problems. What the minister is arguing is that you cannot expose yourself to foreign intelligence agencies this way.” The source noted that Dlodlo remained adamant that she did not want “innuendo or hearsay” presented to the commission as facts.
These shocking revelations came as Dlodlo last week made a failed bid before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to prevent the testimony of Jafta.
In her application, Dlodlo, through her legal counsel, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, told the commission she wanted to assist the inquiry. However, she was committed to ensuring that national security was not compromised.
According to Ntsebeza, Dlodlo was not interested in protecting the unearthing of criminality and wanted to assist the commission.
“She needs to consider whatever it is that Jafta is going to testify about. She was none the wiser about Jafta’s testimony,” he said, adding that his client only received Jafta’s affidavit on Monday night last week.
Ntsebeza said Dlodlo called him to tell him she had just been served with the affidavit.
He asked Justice Zondo to adjourn the hearing of Jafta’s evidence pending the filing of a substantive application.
”The minister’s (national security) concerns arise, and I say so very cautiously and advisedly, from what it would be that the testimony would be about … she is still keen that we should consult, because there are issues in that affidavit,” Ntsebeza explained, adding that he appreciated that the life of the commission was limited.
He said Dlodlo wanted to find out to what extent the issues in Jafta’s affidavit were relevant to what the commission was about.
”Before Jafta testified we wanted to put before the commission – under oath and in writing – what she felt would not be in the interests of national security to allow revealed,” Ntsebeza said.
Justice Zondo indicated that the commission was very alive to matters of national security, and that it would not like to do anything to compromise national security.
He said Dlodlo had had enough time to raise concerns about the parts of Jafta’s affidavit that she felt compromised national security.
”I’m going to dismiss the application. As things stand, there is nothing that would justify the adjourning of Jafta’s evidence,” Justice Zondo ruled.
He said his ruling did not prevent Dlodlo from filing her substantive application.