Ministers' offices swept for bugs - Cwele

2012-05-10 15:50

Cape Town - Cabinet members have asked to have their offices swept for fear that they are being tapped, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Thursday.

While acknowledging that concerns about illicit wire tapping were rife, he downplayed suggestions that the requests sprang from a climate of political paranoia created by power struggles within the ruling party.

"No, they are not in panic mode. Yes, we do receive requests from the ministers to sweep their offices. It is part of our mandate, particularly those who are involved in key policy departments and key economic departments."

Speaking to reporters before his budget vote speech, Cwele said the intelligence ministry was being unfairly implicated in political infighting ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December.

"The intelligence community is blamed for all the political woes people may face, and we really appeal to the public not to abuse intelligence, because lots of those things that are being reported in the media, our agency has nothing to do with them.

"We don't interfere in the internal political processes of any party."

He said there was only one case of suspected illicit tapping by a member of the intelligence community, and an investigation into it was far advanced.

"I'm aware of only one such investigation of alleged tapping in my own agency. The report is being finalised and we will take action, we will not hesitate."

National security

Cwele said he was consulted by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa before Thursday's announcement that controversial crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was being sidelined pending an investigation into allegations that the police had become embroiled in politics.

Cwele said the decision to move Mdluli was Mthethwa's, but he agreed that a bitter public spat between the lieutenant general and other top brass had become damaging.

"This public spat by the senior officers is not good for our democracy."

He denied suggestions that the Mdluli saga had become a threat to stability.

"We have not come to that conclusion that the Mdluli matter has become a national security concern."

Cwele also pointed out that so far, murder and fraud charges against Mdluli had led nowhere, and said he was part of the panel that interviewed him for the post and found nothing untoward.

"These court processes have been stopped for one reason or another. You will also remember that there were several court processes before... These are old matters and have not come up with any firm proof of such things."

The withdrawal of criminal charges against Mdluli is part of the controversy around him.

A lawyer for suspended state prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach has confirmed that she pressed the acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Nomgcobo Jiba, to review the decision to drop charges shortly before she was suspended.

  • Bryan - 2012-05-10 15:57

    Where there is smoke.. there is definitely fire!! The ivory tower is slowly starting to topple..!!

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-10 16:17

      Well, bugging the offices is probably the only way that we will get around the info bill. "but on da oda hand darren" (there is prize for who guesses who that is) they do nothing all day except munch on KFC and all we will hear is crunch, slurp, burp, etc....and eish. Nothing significant really.

      Alan - 2012-05-10 16:29

      Yep Gestoffle - the bugs will also pick up a lot of snoring. And to think that State employees get paid 34% more than equivalent jobs in the private sector. S-o-o comforting to think my tax money is being really well spent.

      David - 2012-05-10 16:36

      That "nice" former Intelligence head,Mdhuli, now shifted(not shafted), must be working hard to ensure his master is re-elected in Mangaung in Dec...hehe

      StoneAgePeasant - 2012-05-10 16:42

      Agreed, this must be the only country in the world where public servants are driving around in cars that people in equivalent private sector jobs couldn't dream of owning in a million years. Something definitely wrong with this picture. Near where I stay a government dept. is leasing an office building (on the edge of a residential area). The number of catering vehicles suddenly passing my gate is astonishing, I guess the fat-arsed creeps are too lazy to take their own lunch to work.

      Jacobus - 2012-05-10 16:56

      First remove the occupant of the office before checking for bugs... Do not want the bug-detector to get confused now, do we.

      Francois - 2012-05-10 17:15

      They are the only bugs in the offices

      Kevin - 2012-05-10 18:41

      The point of bugging is to get useful intelligence. Why bug the Ministers offices? Gestoffle and Alan have a point but they are probably overstating the activity.

  • John - 2012-05-10 15:58

    LOL......hehe...can't stop laughing so who is snooping on them really.....ANY IDEAS....

      Frank - 2012-05-10 16:05

      The only way to rid ourselves of the bugs is to fire the occupant of the office!

      Piet - 2012-05-10 16:14

      just shows you how they are creaming it. The one is to scared that the other one,might win a billion rand tender. The ANC sucks big time!

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-10 16:21

      Yes, it has to be jealous Julius....he thinks he is Bond 007 you see. Except this 007 is more fat than the 007 postcode.....

      Koos - 2012-05-11 07:24

      Asking the chief of the tapping department to look for wiretaps is to ask the SAPS to investigate housebreaking.

  • Michaele - 2012-05-10 16:07

    Afraid of being caught doing illicit deals ....

  • chiepner - 2012-05-10 16:08

    hahahahaha........if you sleep with the devil be prepared to get burned ever so often.

  • herman.brummer - 2012-05-10 16:11

    I guess these were all planted before 1994 right? Its a South African thing, not to take responsibility.

  • Dickie - 2012-05-10 16:11

    Ok News 24...I phrase it differently ..."the one a..e wiping the others's

  • Herman - 2012-05-10 16:11

    What have they got to hide?

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-10 17:11


      colin.dovey - 2012-05-10 17:15

      The whole system has got a BUG in it....NOW we know why NOTHING works...:-)

  • Teuneman - 2012-05-10 16:22

    They are watching too much TV. They are making themselves feel more important than they are in reality.

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-05-10 16:42

    Even if an incriminating evidence is/was found while they are being tapped,it wont change the wind direction because they'd be protected like the likes of Schabir and Mdluli.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-10 16:54

    Ministers' offices swept for bugs - Cwele Ministers houses swept for drugs - Cwele

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