Vavi: Jacob Zuma's cop out to get me

2013-08-25 15:20
Major General Chris Ngcobo, City Press

Major General Chris Ngcobo, City Press

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Johannesburg - Zwelinzima Vavi, the suspended general secretary of labour federation Cosatu, believes he is the target of a sophisticated crime intelligence operation headed by one of President Jacob Zuma’s former bodyguards.

City Press can reveal that Vavi confronted Major General Chris Ngcobo, the acting head of crime intelligence, over the manufacturing and distribution of a “spy report” that implicates him in a high-level conspiracy.

Vavi also believes:

»His phone is being tapped; and

»Ngcobo falsely warned him of an alleged hit on his life by Iranian intelligence officers.

Ngcobo is regarded as a close ally of Zuma and is a former head of the VIP protection unit.

He was appointed to “stabilise” the scandal-wracked intelligence unit in June last year after Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli was suspended.

Mdluli allegedly authored in 2011 a discredited “Ground Coverage” intelligence report that implicated senior ANC political figures in an anti-Zuma plot.

The “Vavi dossier” – which has been rubbished by those named in it – was circulated to Cosatu-affiliate union leaders as they prepared to deliberate over Vavi’s future at a special meeting last week.

The dossier alleges, among other things, that Vavi was colluding with American nongovernmental organisations to topple the ANC-led government.

Investigate

City Press has established from two sources with direct knowledge of events that Vavi confronted Ngcobo about the origin and existence of the dossier before it was leaked.

On Friday, Vavi’s legal team delivered a letter to State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele demanding an investigation into the origins of the intelligence report.

A letter has also been sent to the inspector-general of intelligence with a request to investigate.

Vavi and his legal team believes that sections of the dossier originated in the crime intelligence unit and it was leaked to rival Cosatu leaders to discredit him.

If true, it would directly implicate state intelligence operatives in political processes they are not meant to meddle in.

“We are sending the letter to the minister today because we want to know where this dossier comes from and who leaked the information,” said Vavi’s lawyer, Advocate Dup de Bruyn, on Friday.

Vavi would not comment.

De Bruyn said there are also indications Vavi’s phone was being bugged and they want this probed too.

City Press has established that Vavi and Ncgobo have had contact since September last year when the crime intelligence boss warned him about a bizarre plot to kill him, said a Cosatu insider.

Ngcobo had personally warned Vavi that Iranian intelligence officials had recruited one of his bodyguards to disclose his travel arrangements, the source said.

Questioned

An employee of a renowned local humanitarian organisation was apparently also involved in the alleged plot that Vavi had dismissed as nonsense and as an attempt by Ngcobo to ingratiate himself with the union leader.

Ngcobo had warned Vavi that he might be poisoned or die in a mysterious car accident. Ngcobo had been due to report back in two weeks, but Vavi had heard nothing more.

None of Vavi’s bodyguards were ever questioned or taken into custody by crime intelligence officials.

City Press understands Ngcobo phoned Vavi in July requesting a meeting with him about the alleged plot.

Vavi did not call him back.

SA Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said that upon receiving information, the crime intelligence unit conducted a threat analysis on the life of Vavi. They found there was no threat.

A crime intelligence insider told City Press this week that Vavi was seen with Ngcobo about two weeks ago and that the meeting was “confrontational” and clearly about the intelligence dossier.

Vavi believes rogue elements in crime intelligence have leaked raw and unverified source and agent reports to his enemies in Cosatu.

He accused Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini of circulating the report among the federation’s leaders in an attempt to destroy him.

The report also claims Vavi was intending to form a political party and was involved with the formation of Agang SA, along with academic and activist Mamphela Ramphele.

Leaked dossier

Cosatu announced last Thursday that Vavi had been placed on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing into an affair he had with a junior Cosatu employee.

The deputy general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Tshimane Montoedi, said last week that the intelligence services were involved in the ongoing tussles at Cosatu. He said influential politicians were using these services to help remove union leaders from their posts.

Ngcobo did not answer calls to his phone this week and requests for comment to the inspector-general of intelligence and the State Security Agency were not answered.

The SAPS did not comment on the possible involvement of crime intelligence in compiling the leaked dossier.

Who is Chris Ngcobo?

Before being appointed as acting head of crime intelligence by national police ­commissioner General Riah Phiyega in June last year, Major General Chris Ngcobo ­headed the VIP protection unit.

He is a former head of the protection and security services unit in the Free State, with 18 years of experience in protection and ­intelligence.

Ngcobo joined the police in 1994. In September last year, Ngcobo’s ­laptop mysteriously disappeared from the boot of his official car.

Daily Maverick reported that soon after his appointment, Ngcobo suspended the official authorisation of telephone tapping for agents working on deep-cover operations – until after the ANC’s Mangaung conference.

Ngcobo led a team of 40 crime intelligence agents who were dispatched to ­Mangaung before the governing party’s elective conference there in December.

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