State Security Agency adviser suspended - report

2019-05-27 07:58
The State Security Agency headquarters in Pretoria. (City Press)

The State Security Agency headquarters in Pretoria. (City Press)

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Special adviser to state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Bob Mhlanga, has been suspended, EWN reported on Monday.

Mhlanga is the second adviser to be given the chop, following a report by a high-level review panel appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate alleged irregularities at the State Security Agency (SSA).

Former spy boss Gibson Njenje was also fired from his position as special adviser to Letsatsi-Duba some weeks ago.

Earlier on Monday, EWN initially reported that Mhlanga had been fired.

News24 reported that the review panle's report recommended sweeping changes to the intelligence structures earlier this year.

In that report, the panel said the intelligence agency was being used in political factional battles and pointed to instances of alleged financial mismanagement and even criminality. The report was released to the public in March.

Both Mhlanga and Njenje were suspended form the agency for "serious misconduct" in 2005, when Thabo Mbeki was still president, News24 reported at the time. 

Both were reappointed under former president Jacob Zuma's tenure, Mail & Guardian reported. 

Mhlanga told EWN that he has been accused of drawing a salary from both the international relations department, where he was transferred to several years ago as well as the SSA.

READ: State security minister fires Gibson Njenje as special adviser

But he said when he returned to the agency last year as a special adviser, there was an agreement between the two human resources departments that the one would in effect, top up his salary.

Mhlanga reportedly said he was upset about and disappointed at what happened, saying he was brought back to the SSA to help stabilise the organisation but ended up being treated poorly. He reportedly said he was hastily suspended by now former minister Letsatsi-Duba on Friday.

Njenje was fired earlier in May, ostensibly over alleged irregularities related to a trip to Europe, News24 reported. But a source explained Letsatsi-Duba had grown increasingly suspicious about Njenje's political allegiances.

During his State of the Nation Address in February this year, Ramaphosa announced he would break the SSA into its two original agencies - foreign and domestic - and the re-establishment of the National Security Council. This was on the basis of the SSA report, he said.

According to EWN, the agency's Mahlodi Muofhe couldn't comment because, as of Sunday, they didn't have a minister and were waiting for the president to appoint a new Cabinet.

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