When paranoia replaces intelligence

2015-03-08 15:00

South Africa is easily spooked by bogus intelligence reports. It is easy to lose count of the number of so-called intelligence reports that have been used in factional wars throughout our democratic era.

They litter our political culture with allegations and counterallegations. The Browse Mole Report. Hoax emails. The Ground Cover Intelligence Report. Spy tapes. These are the documents of the era of President Jacob Zuma.

Thabo Mbeki had his fair share of them too while he was president. Remember the documents floating about claiming that now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Gauteng premier Tokyo Sexwale were plotting against Mbeki?

Mzansi loves a good conspiracy. There’s a new one every year. Last year, labour federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was the victim of a document that claimed he was a US spy. This year, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza is allegedly a spy.

So it’s not surprising that Minister of State Security David Mahlobo is officially probing a totally crazy blog, Africa Intelligence Leaks, which alleges Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is a US Central Intelligence Agency spy. Allegedly, so are Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and his archnemesis and former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko.

It’s rubbish. But we keep believing it.

Three state officials have tried to point City Press in the direction of the blog because they sincerely believe it.

For Mahlobo, it’s a distraction from the really important work of fixing his fractured intelligence services and accounting to the nation for why he jammed the communications signal at the opening of Parliament – heaping embarrassment upon us.

It’s far easier to chase spooks than do the important work of building this nation.

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