Spy Wars: Report reveals how Zuma's man at SSA helped build parallel network

2019-03-10 12:30
Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters after his court appearance in Durban on 8 June 2018. Picture: Felix Dlangamandal/Netwerk24

Jacob Zuma addresses his supporters after his court appearance in Durban on 8 June 2018. Picture: Felix Dlangamandal/Netwerk24

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Former president Jacob Zuma's key man in the abuse of the State Security Agency (SSA), over and above ministers Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo, as well as former DG Arthur Fraser, was Thulani Dlomo, the former head of Special Operations at the agency.

Until recently, Dlomo served as the ambassador to Japan, a position Zuma handed him in April 2017. President Cyril Ramaphosa recalled Dlomo last month, two months after he received the Mufamadi panel report.

The ministry of international relations confirmed to News24 that Dlomo has since returned to South Africa and that he is "awaiting further instructions".

Dlomo was appointed to head up Special Operations in 2012, three years into Zuma's devastating presidency, which over nine years oversaw the destruction of capacity at key state institutions, including the South African Revenue Service (Sars), the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

During his presidency, South Africans were also subjected to a loss of hundreds of billions of rands through state capture, a term used to describe the wholesale looting of state coffers, particularly by the Gupta family, who Zuma counts among his friends.

The paths of destruction cross in one example mentioned in the report, when in 2015, R17m was stolen from a safe inside the SSA offices. The perpetrators were caught on camera, but the then-acting head of the Hawks, Berning Ntlemeza, "failed to see the case through to its logical conclusion".

'Monumental blunder'

The report comes amid probes by the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, the Mokgoro inquiry into the fitness of NPA bosses Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office, the inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Nugent inquiry into maladministration at Sars, which have so far revealed varying levels of criminality and machinations behind the destruction of law enforcement capabilities.

Of the SSA's Special Operations (SO) under Dlomo – who famously told colleagues he reports directly to Zuma – the panel said: "It is clear from the above information and other information available to the panel that SO had largely become a parallel intelligence structure serving a faction of the ruling party and, in particular, the personal political interests of the sitting president of the party and country. This is in direct breach of the Constitution, the White Paper, the relevant legislation and plain good government intelligence functioning."

It also stated that it found a "blatant disregard" and since Zuma came to power in 2009, a "marked and increased disregard of the legislation", policies and prescripts that were intended to govern the SSA.

Zuma drove the process to create the SSA, which led to "far more serious problems", the report found. This included the serious disruption of functions, efficiency and operations, the excessive concentration of power inside a top-heavy management structure and a lack of proper focus on foreign intelligence.

His push towards a single intelligence agency and the doctrinal shifts that accompanied it, drove the core purpose of the SSA away from the prescripts of the Constitution, white paper and legislation.

For this "monumental blunder", Zuma and others must face consequences that include criminal prosecution, the panel said.

Read more on:    ssa  |  jacob zuma  |  governance  |  corruption  |  politics

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