Zuma crack spy unit descends on Mangaung

2012-12-09 10:00

Forty crime intelligence agents go to Bloem on a secret mission one week before the conference

A task team of 40 hand-picked crime intelligence agents, led by a Jacob Zuma loyalist major-general, has been dispatched to Mangaung on a mystery mission as the ANC prepares for its elective conference, which begins next weekend.

Two impeccable sources, one inside the unit and another close to crime intelligence, have told City Press that the team was assembled three weeks ago and is headed by acting crime intelligence head Major-General Chris Ngcobo, a former Zuma bodyguard and a known Zuma loyalist.

The police didn’t deny the mission to Mangaung but refused to give any details.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phuti Setati said the police cannot comment as it might jeopardise the “objective of its mission”.

The inside source told City Press crime intelligence was not directly involved in the protection of delegates and VIPs at the conference and, as far as he knew, no threat had been detected to require their presence at Mangaung.

The police’s VIP protection unit has the task of protecting dignitaries and political leaders.

City Press understands that another former Zuma bodyguard, Brigadier KB “Bhoyi” Ngcobo, the crime intelligence acting head of collection, is also on the Mangaung team.

He has, in turn, appointed one of the country’s most controversial police officers, Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba, to head operations at Mangaung.

Ximba, also known to be a Zuma supporter, was one of suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli’s co-accused in a murder case last year, but an inquest magistrate recently found that there wasn’t enough evidence to implicate either of them.

Mdluli promoted Ximba from constable to colonel in one day. Ximba was also recently implicated in the alleged torture of detained striking mine workers at Marikana.

A crime intelligence insider told City Press that the team met behind closed doors and was tight-lipped about the mission, but that talk in the unit was that the team is going to Mangaung to ensure Zuma’s re-election.

The source said: “They’ve been picked for their loyalty to the president.

They’ve been told that they wouldn’t be forgotten in future and that they have a very special role to play in shaping South Africa’s future.”Most of the officers, the source claimed, were already working on aspects of the conference and had been tasked with compiling

profiles of “certain delegates” – most notably those voting against Zuma.

“They have been instructed to mingle, supposedly to identify threats. But what they in fact will be doing is identifying the main anti-Zuma campaigners and making sure that there is not an unexpected surprise awaiting the president,” the source said.

The insider told City Press that the Mangaung task team had vast cash resources available.

The crime intelligence secret fund contains R90 million.

This money should be used to bankroll secret projects, pay agents, purchase cars and rent safe houses.

But, the source claimed, the fund had hardly been touched for months.

He said: “It is Christmas for any criminal. Everything is about Mangaung. Nothing else matters.”

Intelligence expert Laurie Nathan said the deployment of such a large crime intelligence task force to Mangaung was worrying.

He said it was doubtful there could be official justification for sending them to the conference, and that those working in the shadowy world of intelligence loved to be kingmakers and it would not be the first time they have meddled in politics.

According to Nathan, the deployment of crime intelligence at Mangaung might be to prevent what happened at the 2007 Polokwane conference, when then intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils was convinced that former president Thabo Mbeki had the organisation’s presidency in the bag.

The Sunday Times previously reported that the domestic intelligence branch, the State Security Agency, had also set up a Mangaung task team to “weed out potential troublemakers”.

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