Spy report ‘rubbish’

2013-08-18 14:00

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Vusi Pikoli and others pour scorn on ‘revelations’ that Vavi and key SA figures are paid to advance US interests

A lot of rubbish!

That is how Advocate Vusi Pikoli, the former national director of public prosecutions, has described a rogue intelligence report that implicates him, suspended labour federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and other high-profile South Africans in being paid to advance an American agenda.

Vavi released copies of the report on Friday, which he said was a “total fabrication” and proof that his suspension was politically motivated.

This is at least the fifth intelligence report that has been circulated and has caused havoc in the governing ANC alliance in recent years.

Vavi was suspended this week after admitting to having sex in his Cosatu office in January with a woman he appointed to work for the trade union federation.

Several of the high-ranking figures mentioned in the 19-page intelligence report have dismissed it as “rubbish” and a “smear”.

Pikoli, who is mentioned in the report as having consulted with US agency the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on President Jacob Zuma’s corruption prosecution and as having advised Agang SA, dismissed the report.

He said he did not know there was something called the NED.

The NED is an agency that gets money from the US Congress for distribution to pro-democracy nonprofit organisations worldwide.

It features prominently in the report, where it is alleged the organisation is working undercover to overthrow governments in Africa.

Pikoli, whose name also featured in the 2006 ANC hoax spy emails, said he wanted an investigation into the origins of the report before he could decide on a course of action.

Former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, who is mentioned as having met with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa, described the report as “crazy” and a “smear”. He said he had never spoken to Mathunjwa.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s first reaction to the report was: “Mxm, sies.”

The report alleges Malema received R50 000 and a promise from Mathunjwa to pay his legal bills.

“There’s nothing there to comment on. Nothing. I don’t know why Vavi’s giving that thing attention,” he said.

Frank Chikane, the former director-general under the Thabo Mbeki presidency, also dismissed the report as false, saying it was meant to stop people like him from fixing what is wrong with the country.

He is alleged to have received financial support from the NED, also for one of the two tell-all books he wrote, and to have advised Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele.

“Everything they say about me is totally false. I am not handled by anybody, especially the Americans. I have no dealings with Agang and nobody has spoken to me.

“It is false from A to Z. People who run intelligence to destabilise countries mix falsehood with the truth. This one did not even do that. This type of thing can cost people’s lives,” said Chikane.

Advocate Guido Penzhorn, who is tipped to become the head of the Special Investigating Unit, said he had never heard of the NED.

The report alleges that he gets money from the organisation.

City Press was told that Vavi only learnt about the “rogue” spy report that implicates him as a plotter against the government a week ago.

Vavi has described the report as a “fabrication” with “all the hallmarks of being the work of rogue elements in the intelligence community”.

He claimed it was circulated by Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini “to smear and destroy” him.

Vavi was told about the contents of the spy report at the funeral of the former deputy president of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) Phil Bokaba in Ga-Rankuwa last Saturday.

It was only after this that he asked for a copy of the report, which he claimed was circulated by Dlamini.

This came ahead of Wednesday’s Cosatu central executive meeting, which decided that Vavi should be placed on “indefinite leave”.

A union source told City Press that Numsa president Cedric Gina gave Vavi a copy of the report, but Gina denied it. “I have never received that document, so I could never pass it on,” he said.

Dlamini refused to talk about the report, saying Vavi was taking the matter to court.

Vavi claimed Dlamini had seen the report in May already when he named the NED as an organisation facilitating the creation of “capable opposition movements” to defeat the current government.

Cosatu is, however, still in two minds about whether the report is true or not.

Cosatu’s first deputy president Tyotyo James said the report would be discussed this week.

“I don’t want to say what the report has done or not done until we meet and consider our view as a collective,” he said.

A trade union official who attended Wednesday’s meeting claimed no Cosatu leader took the report seriously.

Another union official said the report surfaced at a time when Cosatu was gripped by paranoia and said it had fed “long-term suspicions” about Vavi and his Numsa allies. He said these suspicions were fuelled by revelations that DA leader Helen Zille had tried to recruit Vavi.

“For those who push an agenda, it is a minefield. There has also been a feeling that the general secretary (Vavi) is no longer comfortable in the alliance setup.

“The ANC doesn’t take kindly to criticism. It just closes ranks because it is a liberation movement and that’s how it is wired. For the ANC not to sink, it has to throw a heavyweight overboard,” he said.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe refused to comment on the report, saying “whether I have seen it or not seen it, that is none of your business”.

An ANC source, however, said the party was concerned about the report and its place of origin because it has elements of the Browse Mole report, which was used to discredit Zuma ahead of the ANC’s bruising 2007 Polokwane conference.

“It (the report) is likely to take up a large portion of next week’s (ANC national working committee) meeting. It is very worrying,” the source said.

A member of Cosatu’s central executive committee said Vavi’s decision to challenge his suspension in court was likely to harden attitudes among those who wanted him to be ousted from the federation.

State security spokesperson Brian Dube didn’t want to comment.

“Vavi said he will approach the office of the inspector-general of intelligence to have the matter investigated and we will have to wait for that process,” he said.

Former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, who is also mentioned in the report, said the document was “not worth commenting on”.

He denied that he had a meeting with Mathunjwa where he pledged his support to Amcu.

Agang SA yesterday tweeted: “Not a single word of truth in the #vavireport. Reads more like bad B movie spy script.”

‘Bogus’ intelligence report’s wackiest 10 claims

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