UDM questions role of NIA during elections

Cape Town - United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has questioned why the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) would "spend taxpayers' money trying to destabilise political opponents". and has demanded a probe into the matter.

In an open letter to Inspector General of Intelligence Faith Radebe on Wednesday, Holomisa said the UDM was one of the political parties playing an important role in helping to strengthen democracy in South Africa.

For many years, the ruling party had demonstrated faith and confidence in the UDM by appointing his deputy Ntopile Kganyago to the Cabinet between 2004 and 2009, he wrote.

Later on, the ANC had appointed himself and Kganyago to sensitive portfolios such as the Interim Defence Service Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence respectively.

"Today, however, I write to you to register my concern about allegations that some of your National Intelligence agents have engaged a UDM candidate during the previous local government elections," Holomisa wrote.

"I am privy to their conversation and the money paid to him by the NIA official in question for 'services rendered' and his offer to train him as an agent.

"To prove this, and given an opportunity, I would gladly facilitate a meeting between your office and the UDM candidate in question to take this matter further," he said.

The UDM was in possession of the details of the NIA agent in question.

Misuse of resources

"The question that remains etched in the minds of the UDM members and the general public is why the NIA would spend taxpayers' money trying to destabilise political opponents."

This had left him wondering why the NIA would allow itself to be used to serve the interest of one political player at the expense of others, instead of fulfilling its constitutional obligations of providing intelligence services to the Republic of South Africa, Holomisa said.

"You will recall that in the past, the misuse of state resources to fight political opponents has been the subject of debate in South African courts of law, ie the Mbeki vs Zuma saga."

The NIA's "misuse of state resources is believed to be widespread".

"Therefore, I would strongly suggest that in order to get to the root of the problem you appoint a team to investigate how much money was withdrawn from the NIA's secret fund account during the period of the local government elections, for what purpose and by whom.

"This should give you a clear picture of what happened during the time in question before you respond in detail to my letter," Holomisa wrote.

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