EXCLUSIVE: How SSA spooks kidnapped one of their own

2017-09-24 12:32
Shadrack Sibiya, the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng. (File, Netwerk24)

Shadrack Sibiya, the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng. (File, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – The dramatic abduction of a spy with ties to President Jacob Zuma by fellow spooks is the latest in a string of incidents that shows the country’s intelligence agencies are being abused for political purposes.

Following an investigation by News24 and Rapport, we can today reveal that senior police officers and State Security Agency (SSA) officials were forced to rush to the Wierdabrug police station in an attempt to rescue a spy who had been hijacked and abducted by his own colleagues at the SSA.

The agent, Yekani Monde Gadini, 47, is connected to a rogue unit in the SSA, the Special Operations Unit, which is understood to drive political operations for Zuma.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Department of Labour deregisters 'bogus union' linked to Zuma

This unit is allegedly responsible for countless counter-intelligence campaigns against anybody who threatened the interests of Zuma and his friends, the Guptas.

Some of the victims of this campaign include former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan, Johann van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay, formerly top officials at SARS, as well as Anwa Dramat, the former head of the Hawks, and Shadrack Sibiya, the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng.

News24 and Rapport spoke to sources who were directly involved in the bizarre abduction, as well as two officers in the senior ranks of the police.

They cannot be identified because they are not permitted to speak to the media.

According to these sources, Gadini was stuffed into the boot of the Volkswagen Polo he was driving in July, 2014, shortly after he met with senior officials from SARS. Gadini, himself a former employee of SARS, was allegedly working for the SSA before 2014.

According to the source, his alleged kidnappers thought he was in possession of documents related to scheming between SSA agents and tobacco bosses, as well as other suspicious SSA projects.

Zuma's legal adviser

Gadini’s wife, Bonisiwe Makhene-Gadini, is one of Jacob Zuma’s legal advisers. It is understood that she contacted the police when she heard of the incident.

According to police sources, Makhene-Gadini and Riah Phiyega, the former head of police, are good friends.

Phiyega, Makhene-Gadini and Simon Ntombela, the former head of the SSA’s domestic branch, all met at the Wierdabrug police station.

Members of the Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management in Gauteng – at that stage still under the leadership of Sibiya – were deployed to try and locate Gadini.

It is understood that they encountered Gadini and his kidnappers and Gadini was released.

But then Gadini and his wife, as well as Phiyega and Ntombela, had to try and explain what was happening, and keep the truth from Sibiya, who was, at that stage, a target of a counter-intelligence campaign.

Rapport and News24 were able to determine that a police docket is still open, but that nothing has come of the investigation.

In January 2015, Sibiya was suspended from the police because of his alleged involvement in the "rendition" of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

According to a subsequent Hawks corruption investigation into former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli, this story was planted in the media by crime intelligence operatives loyal to Mdluli.

According to sources, Gadini was responsible for arranging meetings with senior members of SARS and Makhene-Gadini made sure that information about Zuma’s enemies reached his hears.

Rogue projects

Rapport has previously reported that Gadini’s cellphone number was the contact number on a fake trade union's registration documents. This union was allegedly set up on instruction of Zuma, in order to destabilise competing unions.

In response to a telephonic request for comment Gadini said: "No, no, no, no. I don’t know what you’re talking about!"

He did not respond to requests for comment that were sent via SMS and email. Makhene-Gadini did not answer her cellphone.

Phiyega, Ntombela and Sibiya also could not be reached for comment.

Brian Dube, the SSA’s spokesperson, said the police would have to comment because the matter was a police investigation.

But in a statement on Friday night, Dube said that continuing references in the media to a rogue unit in the SSA is concerning.

He said that the inspector-general of intelligence found that there was no evidence of any member of the SSA acting illegally or trying to destabilise SARS.

The SSA does not have a rogue structure, Dube said.

The police did not respond to a request for comment.

*Do you have information for our investigative journalists? Send an email to tips@24.com

Read more on:    sars  |  ssa  |  johannesburg  |  corruption

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