Spy report: Phosa lays defamation charges against former employee

2015-03-15 06:00

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ANC veteran Mathews Phosa has laid perjury and criminal defamation charges against his former employee for alleging he fabricated an intelligence report accusing Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza of being a former apartheid spy.

Phosa laid the charges at the White River Police Station in Mpumalanga yesterday.

In an affidavit he gave to police, Jan Venter – a former house manager at Phosa’s home in Hazyview – said that he saw the former ANC treasurer-general and former Mpumalanga premier drafting the spy report with his associate, Nick Elliot, in May last year.

The report alleged that Mabuza spied on senior ANC officials between 1985 and 1993 on behalf of the apartheid government. Mabuza was, according to the report, code-named PN485.

Venter gave the sworn statement to North West deputy provincial commissioner Major-General Jacob Tsumane.

Read: ‘I saw Phosa write Mabuza spy report’

Tsumane is investigating Phosa for criminal defamation after Mabuza laid a charge when it emerged that Phosa had submitted the report to ANC officials at Luthuli House last September.

Phosa said he would also apply for an urgent high court interdict on Monday to prohibit Venter from defaming him and to force him to return all photos, email records, video clips and documents he had about him, his family and his companies.

Venter said the fresh charges and the court interdict were intended to gag him.

“If he has nothing to hide, why is he silencing me? Why does he have to go to this extent? I’m not afraid … the truth will come out in court,” said Venter.

Phosa insisted the spy report had been in existence for five years and that he did not write it as Venter alleged. He said he had witnesses willing to testify on his behalf.

“I didn’t know about the report then. Had it landed in my hands at that time, I would have acted the same way [given it to ANC officials]. Venter held a position of trust, but over the past six months I’ve been phoned by several newspapers who said they’ve seen the inside of my house and emails and company documents,” Phosa said after laying the charges.

National police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said he could not respond to every allegation and counter-allegation when asked if police had ascertained when the spy report was written or whether Phosa could be linked to it.

“Please appreciate that we cannot be responding to each and every allegation and counter-allegation. Suffice to say that we are busy with our investigation, which is progressing well,” Makgale said.

In a sworn statement given to White River police, Phosa denied writing the report or instructing his head of security, Peter van Zyl, to intimidate Venter to return all of Phosa’s personal information.

Venter has laid an intimidation charge against Van Zyl. The case is being heard in the White River Magistrates’ Court.

“I deny I am the author of the top secret, classified document as alleged by Venter. At no time during Venter’s employment did I draft notes as he alleges, nor discuss or make mention of Mabuza or secret numbers with Elliot as alleged by Venter,” Phosa wrote.

He said his office manager-cum-personal assistant, Debbie Burnett, told him Venter had given her a memory stick with information about him and his family after he resigned in May.

But Venter had refused to confirm verbally or in writing that he had deleted all the information in his possession relating to the Phosa family and his company.

Phosa has laid four theft charges and instituted a civil claim against Venter for about R53?500 since he resigned. Phosa claims that Venter was given cash or money was transferred into his personal account in order to buy household items.

The amount Phosa allegedly lost was for a plane ticket, a pump, petty cash, a carpet and tiles, and parts of a water tank.

Venter denied owing Phosa any money.

“Why does he lay the charges now? The plane ticket issue happened seven months before I resigned,” he said then.

Venter told City Press he lived in fear and he had to relocate his family after shots were fired at him while he was driving in Hazyview.

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