WRAP | Miss K testifies of a private unit consisting of non-SSA members established to protect Zuma

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27 January 16:20

The commission has adjourned for the day. It will resume tomorrow

27 January 15:47

Mr Y has confirmed Dr Sydney Mufamadi’s evidence that the SSA, under Thulani Dlomo, embarked on a process to recruit toxicologists to test Zuma’s food and bedding for poison.

Two toxicologists and two lab assistants were recruited and received training in a “foreign country” that the inquiry has elected not to identify – but which was integrally involved in the SSA toxicologist program through a “development agency”.

Former State Security Minister David Mahlobo confirmed in 2017 that Zuma had been poisoned in 2014 and had received treatment in Russia, which he said had been able to identify the specific poison used on the former President.

The National Prosecuting Authority, however, declined to prosecute anyone for Zuma’s alleged poisoning – because there was no medical evidence that he had in fact been poisoned.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 15:30

Mr Y has claimed he received information that Thulani Dlomo reported directly to then President Jacob Zuma.

Miss K says her team inferred that this was the case, but has no direct knowledge of this. She does however confirm that a member of the Presidential Security Support Service told her that he did report directly to Zuma and this made him feel “powerful”.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 15:05

Miss K agrees that the restructuring of SSA enabled a centralization of power within counter-intelligence, under controversial spy boss Thulani Dlomo.

Mr Y said he believed Dlomo’s recruitment and deployment of “co-workers” to form a “private force” of agents for then-President Jacob Zuma in 2008-2009, was part of a plan to make him an immensely powerful figure in the SSA, when he was eventually appointed in 2012. He then had significant power to conduct unlawful operations. Miss K agrees that there was “exponential overspending” under Dlomo’s watch.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 14:49

Miss K agrees with testimony from Mr Y, in which he questioned the motivation given for the centralization of the counter-intelligence authority in the SSA. This centralization was motivated by claims that there were “immediately identified security deficiencies” within the SSA that left then President Zuma “vulnerable to all kind of threats”. Mr Y stated that no evidence was presented to back up these claims, besides “vague” and unproven allegations about “the role of the media in undermining the office of the Presidency”.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 14:34

Aspirant members of the Zuma Presidential Protection Unit were asked to sign contracts that were not signed by the SSA, Miss K says. She confirms that members of the unit were given firearms by the SSA - despite their questionable contractual relationship with the agency. They were trained in an unnamed country and effectively formed a “private force” for Zuma. “It seems to me that whatever their duties were, they did not perform them within SSA structures?” Zondo asks.

Miss K says the unit’s operations were never disclosed through SSA structures. Effectively, they operated outside the formal structures of the SSA. There was a six-month period where 25-26 members moved around the country for “operational purposes” – but, Miss K says, “no one in the provinces knew what they were doing there”.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 14:16

Miss K confirms that former spy boss Thulani Dlomo wanted to establish a Presidential Protection Unit tasked solely with gathering intelligence to protect former President Jacob Zuma when he came into power. He trained these recruits while working at the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Social Development, she confirms – and has seen letters where Dlomo’s employers were informed that he was assisting the SSA.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 14:12

The commission resumes. Miss K continues testimony. 

27 January 13:13

“On an executive level, the abuse of the SSA and its mandate occurred primarily under leadership of Ministers Siyabonga Cwele, David Mahlobo and Advocate Bongani Bongo and was executed or implemented primarily, or though not exclusively, by Mr Maruti Nosi, Ambassador Thulani Dlomo..and Mr Arthur Fraser.” – Miss K

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 12:56

Miss K adds: This illicit chain is very important as it shows how orchestrated some of these activities have been, based on the evidence that we have.

27 January 12:55

Miss K reveals that “one of the implicated individuals” who was questioned during Operation Veza told her that SSA money had been used to fund the “Protect the Luthuli House” campaign – by bussing in alleged MKVA members and paying for their food and accommodation. Evidence leader Paul Pretorius says further evidence will be led on this.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 12:41

“Project Veza” was aimed at comprehensively investigating alleged malfeasance at the SSA. Mr Y, who was a co-sponsor of that project, has revealed that members of the team and people who have cooperated with its investigation were threatened. Miss K has confirmed knowledge of these threats and says she directly experienced attempts to sabotage Operation Veza’s investigations.

-Karyn Maughan  

27 January 12:38

Miss K begins her testimony. Both she and Mr Y have been involved in “Operation Veza” – a project that aims to clean up the SSA. She confirmed that SSA was requested by the Zondo inquiry to provide information about alleged irregularities with regards to “special operations”.

Documents relevant to the investigation were found in a walk-in safe. She further confirms that certain documents provided to the inquiry had been declassified “after a long process”. Certain documents, the contents of which have yet to be disclosed, were subsequently provided to the Hawks and NPA’s Investigating Directorate.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 12:29

Pretorius asks Miss K if documentation discovered in a walk-in safe at the SSA had been lodged there in the normal course of administration, to which Miss K responds that she is not entirely sure.

27 January 12:27

Miss K is now confirming documentations as Adv. Pretorius leads the investigation, including materials requested by the commission from SSA. 

27 January 12:14

Pretorius warns Miss K to be cautious not to implicate members that are not in the affidavit of Mr Y. Miss K says she understands the request. 

27 January 12:12

Miss K confirms that they (Mr Y and Miss K) on a project, she was the project manager. 

Zondo reminds miss K to remain alert during testimony to what she says, so not to put her identity in jeopardy.

27 January 12:04

The commission reconvenes following the second short adjournment, Miss K finally starts her testimony. 

27 January 11:45

The commission adjourns for a short break.

27 January 11:41

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo agrees that Miss K’s identity should be concealed. He says he will provide reasons if asked to.

He orders that she cannot be identified by her real name, which will be redacted from written statements.

She cannot be photographed – and neither can anyone who protects her. She will give her evidence from a protected witness location.

Evidence leader Paul Pretorius earlier argued that the inquiry must hear Miss K’s testimony because “it’s important evidence”.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 11:37

Pretorius says it seems that the intention to preclude Miss K from giving evidence in camera should not be confused with her bringing evidence at all. The commission must hear evidence. The rules are clear and are not there to prohibit the commission from doing its work. It makes no sense that an application to give evidence in camera should not itself be bought under the same terms.

27 January 11:36

As was the case prior to SSA DG Loyiso Jafta testifying yesterday, advocates for implicated spies are protesting about “Miss K” giving evidence.

Advocate Rapulane Kgoroeadira, for former SSA DG Arthur Fraser and his former spy colleagues, insists there is no need for Miss K to confirm Mr Y’s evidence. She could simply provide an affidavit confirming the contents of his evidence.

He accuses the inquiry of “trying to get Mr Y’s evidence in through the back door”. Other advocates have accused the inquiry of failing to give their clients proper notice they would be implicated by Miss K’s evidence – despite evidence leader Paul Pretorius stating this was done because of the sensitivity of her testimony.

These protests have blocked the inquiry from proceeding for close to 30 minutes now.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 11:26

The evidence team has known for a while that Mr Y was ill, they had enough time to submit a Rule 3 3 notice, council argues. Zondo says the substance of Miss K’s testimony is in Mr Y’s affidavit. 

27 January 11:16

Kgoroeadira: Mr Y's evidence cannot be presented through a back door. There is no reason why Miss K's affidavit must be aligned and why she is not submitting her own evidence. People's lives are being affected.

27 January 11:10

You cannot confirm what is not before the hearing, Kgoroeadira argues.

27 January 11:06

Evidence leader Paul Pretorius says Arthur Fraser’s advocate Rapulane Kgoroeadira appears to be arguing that Miss K should not give evidence at all – because Fraser and his colleagues have not been notified that her evidence will implicate them. Pretorius says Mr Y, who previously gave evidence about alleged unlawful SSA operations, recently emerged from a coma but is "seriously indisposed" and physically unable to testify. Miss K is now coming to the inquiry to confirm the contents of an affidavit that Mr Y intended to testify about.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 11:03

“Miss K” – who is employed by SSA and is involved in “sensitive investigations” – has applied to give her evidence from a remote location and under a protected identity. Evidence leader Paul Pretorius said she has been threatened as a consequence of being part of “Project Veza”, which is aimed at “cleaning up” the SSA.

Arthur Fraser’s advocate Rapulane Kgoroeadira, who also represents a number of other spies, says his clients oppose Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo granting such an order. Kgoroeadira again complains that his clients have not been given any notice that they are implicated in Miss K’s evidence.

“We can’t be ambushed in this manner. This injustice cannot be allowed to persist," he said.

Zondo points out that the inquiry’s evidence leaders have explained that they did not give such notice because of the “sensitive nature” of Miss K’s evidence.

He also compared Miss K giving evidence instead of Mr Y – a previous SSA witness who testified about former president Jacob Zuma’s political allies unlawfully getting Agency protection – to a substitute soccer player taking the jersey of a player he was replacing. This should not be allowed, he said.

- Karyn Maughan

27 January 10:50

The commission reconvenes, Advocate Pretorius explains the matter before Zondo, which will be the evidence of witness K/ Ms K, whose identity is to be protected during testimony. This witness will be testifying from an undisclosed location. The witness is employed by SSA. 

27 January 10:37

Arthur Fraser’s advocate Rapulane Kgoroeadira expresses his unhappiness over the former SSA DG being implicated in the R9 billion in “missing” assets identified by the Auditor-General in the agency’s 2017/2018 annual report. He insists that evidence given by Fraser’s successor Loyiso Jafta is “the first time” that Fraser heard “of such a huge amount of money being unaccounted for under his watch” and says Jafta had a duty to raise it with him.

Kgoroeadira claims “we have since established that no assets to the amount of R9 billion are unaccounted for”. He accuses Jafta of conducting a “malicious” investigation against Fraser and deliberately withholding information from the AG. The advocate further alleged that the inquiry’s failure to inform Fraser that he was implicated by Jafta’s evidence confirmed his “suspicion of bias” against evidence leader Paul Pretorius. Pretorius says Fraser will have the opportunity to raise these issues in cross-examination.

-Karyn Maughan

27 January 10:26

A short adjournment will take place. 

27 January 10:17

Zondo commission has resumed, Adv Paul Pretorius will lead evidence of unidentified witness. 

27 January 09:48

State capture: SSA gave firearms, ammunition to non-members, claims spy boss

State Security Agency (SSA) operatives unlawfully gave firearms and ammunition to non-members, but it is not known why the weapons were given or what they were used for. 

This information was revealed by the SSA acting director-general Loyiso Jafta, who was testifying before the State Capture Inquiry on Tuesday. 

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