New state security minister to straighten intelligence

2018-03-04 05:52
Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

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A back story once told about new State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba is that she spied on former president Jacob Zuma’s opponents in her second home province of Limpopo and, just like that, climbed up the ladder in the ANC.

Ahead of the ANC’s Mangaung conference in 2012, goes the story, Gauteng-born Letsatsi-Duba took several complaints to Luthuli House regarding the conduct of the anti-Zuma Limpopo executive, led by then chairperson Cassel Mathale.

Her intervention boosted Zuma’s numbers by up to 50 delegates from Limpopo that Mathale had disqualified.

The tip-toeing to Luthuli House gained her not only admiration from then ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, but Zuma delegates rewarded her with a place on the party’s national executive committee (NEC) when she was nominated from the conference floor.

This short story may suggest that the country’s new chief spy is a key player in the ANC’s factional politics. However, a former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader in Limpopo says “she has no single factional bone in her body”. Actually, in her constituency in Mankweng, which forms part of Limpopo’s Peter Mokaba region, Letsatsi-Duba is known to be a proponent of political education.

Her fallout with Mathale ahead of Mangaung was the reason why she jumped ship and joined the Zuma camp, says a former ANCYL leader from Limpopo who served under the former league president Julius Malema – also mentioned as a former close friend of Letsatsi-Duba.

“She has a tendency to jump around between factions because going to the Nasrec national conference (last December) she was one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ground forces,” he said.

On the Ramaphosa slate of NEC members at Nasrec, Letsatsi-Duba came up at number 21 on the list in alphabetical order. She did not feature on the pro-Zuma list led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

A former Zuma sympathiser told City Press ahead of Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle on Monday that, if there were two portfolios the Zuma camp was hard-pressed to keep, it should be energy and state security. The Zuma camp seemingly lost both.

Letsatsi-Duba would have to work with State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser, who was previously accused of trying to sidestep former minister David Mahlobo and report directly to the president.

After his appointment in September 2016, Fraser promoted junior managers and got rid of the experienced members of the agency, some of whom were absorbed into other government departments.

Letsatsi-Duba’s struggle credentials go back to the days of Umkhonto weSizwe, in which she served as an operative. She is a former member of the United Democratic Front’s then famous Northern Transvaal Peter Nchabeleng unit, where she worked with ANC stalwarts Frans Mohlala and Peter Mokaba.

She has extensive experience in international relations, having served as a member of that sub-committee in the ANC’s national executive.

Letsatsi-Duba completed a diploma in political science in Cuba in 1987 and has a diploma in mass communication from Harare Polytechnic in Zimbabwe.

She chaired Parliament’s public enterprises committee and, in March 2017, Zuma named her deputy minister of public service and administration – a post she kept until Monday.

Read more on:    dipuo letsatsi-duba  |  anc

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