New spy war in SAPS

2011-05-08 14:55

Johannesburg -  A vicious smear campaign targeting a senior police spy master is at the heart of a crippling battle for control of the police’s crime intelligence division.

The attempt to discredit Major General Mark Hankel, who briefly served as acting crime intelligence head after the arrest of police spy boss Richard Mdluli for murder, is the latest in a series of recent scandals involving the division.

Hankel is head of the division’s operational intelligence analysis section.

Senior police have warned that the crime intelligence division has been all but crippled by the scandals in which it has become embroiled.

City Press can reveal that classified police documents, which attempt to link Hankel to the abduction and murder of Eastern Cape political activist Matthew Goniwe in 1985, have been systematically leaked to a number of journalists over the past three weeks by an intermediary acting on behalf of an unnamed "source".

Police insiders claim Hankel was ­targeted because he was seen as a likely candidate to succeed Mdluli.

And ­police believe the smear was orchestrated by someone embittered at ­Hankel’s appointment as acting head.

The documents, which include a "top secret information note" dated July 6 last year and bearing a signature attributed to the head of police counter-intelligence, Major General Dan ­Mokgabudi, call into question Hankel’s "top secret" security clearance status.


It alleges that during an August 2008 polygraph test, he "reacted significantly to questions pertaining [to the]) ­commission of a serious crime”.

According to the note, Hankel was ­retested and failed again "until he had admitted to conspiring in the death of Matthew Goniwe... who he had attended the same university with, Fort Hare, during the apartheid government".

The note continues: "This office (counterintelligence) resolves that the current valid security clearance issued to... Hankel be withdrawn with ­immediate effect and his current ­position in crime intelligence be ­reconsidered for placement where a clearance to the ­level of top secret would not be a ­requirement."

But the allegations contained in the document appear to be factually flawed.

The information note was apparently sent to Mdluli and a response, marked "secret" and dated July 22 last year, was sent to both Mokgabudi and Hankel.

The letter states that in terms of the National Strategic Intelligence Act, Mdluli, as head of police crime ­intelligence, has a "discretion to issue, ­degrade, withdraw or refuse to grant a security clearance after evaluating the information gathered during the ­security screening investigation".

But rather than degrading or ­withdrawing Hankel’s clearance, ­another vetting of Hankel was ordered.

Contacted by City Press on two separate occasions, Mokgabudi claimed he knew "nothing" about the document.

“Where did you get those documents? You know, our names are so much in the newspape,? I don’t want to ­answer anything, please."

Mdluli could not be reached for ­comment and Hankel declined to talk.

Police spokesperson McIntosh ­Polela said they could not support or dispute the claim that the note was ­designed to smear Hankel.

Polela said: "Mark Hankel himself has not indicated that he is interested in contesting the post [of crime ­intelligence head] should it become ­vacant. In fact, such a question never arose."

According to Polela, there is no ­investigation into the leaking of the document yet, but "management will have a look at them to make an assessment". He wouldn’t be drawn on ­whether Hankel undertook a ­polygraph test. "It is confidential," he said.

Phones tapped

Earlier this year, City Press revealed that Hawks investigators had ­evidence that their phones were being illegally tapped by crime intelligence officers.

Relations between the two divisions are said to have broken down completely and it is understood the Hawks now make use of the National Intelligence Agency for operational support.

Following Mdluli’s arrest for the murder of an alleged love rival in 1999, a supposed "ground coverage intelligence report", which alleged that senior ANC figures were embroiled in a ­bizarre conspiracy to oust President Jacob Zuma, was leaked to the media.

At a press conference last week, ­Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, one of the alleged "plotters" named in the report, slammed the allegations as "libelous".

Sexwale also expressed concerns that his phones may have been tapped, and cautioned: "I am told we have not seen the last of these dirty tricks."

  • Lestor - 2011-05-08 15:37

    I hope that they are pulling this in there free time, I hate to think we are paying them to be having there little war.

  • braveinternetguy - 2011-05-08 15:39

    If it is not corruption, it is in-fighting. The ANC is so self-obsessed and obsessed with self-enrichment that they simply do not see how they are destroying the very fabric, the very foundation, of this country, causing a deathly rot to spread from the core. We desparately need to rescue South Africa from the ANC. Former enemies will have to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against the common enemy of us all, the ANC government. All of us, black and white, left and right, man and woman, young and old - no matter what your hopes and aspirations are, no matter what you dream about or where your hope lies...we are all doomed if the ANC remains in power. We HAVE TO take the power back from them before it's too late, we HAVE TO make sure that power lands up in capable hands. There's a municipal election around the corner...let's start fixing this problem RIGHT NOW. DON'T VOTE ANC!

  • peace_piece - 2011-05-08 15:41

    The culprit behind all these things? - can only be one person gunning for the top position? Judas Malemmer!

      braveinternetguy - 2011-05-08 15:49


  • Slapper - 2011-05-08 16:10

    The Whole Bunch of them need to be sacked. The incompetence of these guys is unbelievable, but now some of the reason for this is explainable. They are too busy fighting each other, to bother about the Crime situation.

  • Dave Benoni - 2011-05-08 18:46

    The force behind this smear campaign just can't wait to get his trotters and snout in the trough!!!

  • Jacques - 2011-05-08 23:33

    How about a battle against crime? I mean honestly, why are they fighting amongst themselves instead of doing their farking jobs. I pay their salaries and what do they do with their time? Scheme against each other. They should all be shot for wasting taxpayers money and putting the public in danger because they dont do what they are supposed to.

      croix - 2011-05-09 00:15

      It's called : "Delusions of Entitlement" - The politicians of Africa think the countries where they're elected, actually BELONG to them - to rob and plunder as they see fit.

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