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WRAP | Spy boss to Zondo: Black ops supported Zuma, ANC factions, billions missing, judges 'bribed'

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26 January 17:37

That's a wrap

Jafta's testimony broadly corroborating what Mufamadi said on Monday, namely that the SSA seemed to have been one giant front for the political projects conducted by Zuma and his faction, millions and millions of taxpayer rands looted, stolen, spent and pillaged and that there has been almost no oversight. We'll take a break and try to make sense of it overnight.

Watch out for Alex Mitchley's wrap tonight, Karyn Maughan's reporting tomorrow morning, as well as Qaanitah Hunter (political editor), Adriaan Basson (editor-in-chief) and my analysis in the morning. Suffice to say the last two days have been shockers. 

- Pieter du Toit

26 January 17:30

Evidence leader Paul Pretorius is done questioning Jaftha. His evidence is wrapped up.

The commission has adjourned for the day.

26 January 17:24

Jafta says SSA has “very strong circumstantial evidence” that agency cash ended up in the hands of a judges – as part of “Operation Justice”.

“What I do not have, sitting here right now, is absolute concrete evidence of that”. 

Jafta says investigations into the implicated judge are ongoing.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 17:19

Jafta reveals that SSA investigations into unlawful “special operations” – including alleged efforts to bribe judges – had been compromised by an investigator leaking information to those implicated in wrongdoing.

In response to questions from evidence leader Paul Pretorius about why these investigations have seemingly not gone anywhere, Jafta says it is “too onerous” for someone under whose watch R200 million of SSA cash was spent to explain what had happened. There has been “pushback” he says – including threats and intimidation being directed against him. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 16:48

Jafta testified about the "reckless" way in which SSA assets were doled out, often to and including "non-SSA employees" and including firearms.

Many of these firearms have not been recovered, he says. Scary thought. Who did they give guns to? How many guns? And how many of these have been used by criminals? 

- Pieter du Toit

26 January 16:36

Jaftha claims that the SSA shut down various NPOs previously set up by the agency, because their functions was not in line with the mandate of the SSA. He claims the organisations were set up to promote the ANC. 

26 January 16:32

The hearing continues...

26 January 16:20

RECAP: Just before the break, Jafta spoke about how SSA has sought to recover some of the billions in missing funds and unjustified expenditure – including terminating the Agency protection services provided to ex-SA Airways board chair Dudu Myeni and ANC Youth League President Collin Maine.

He says SSA has also taken part of the pensions of agents who took cash for unlawful operations. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 16:08

The commission has adjourned for a short break...

26 January 15:48

Zondo asks whether there was anything ever done to hold the department's accounting officer accountable. Jaftha says he doesn't know.

Jaftha explains that holding an accounting officer to account falls outside his responsibilities. Zondo asks whether Jaftha was entitled to enquire whether the accounting officer was held responsible, and Jaftha replies that he would be.

Jaftha says he would have taken time to find out what the money was used for, and for recovering it. 

26 January 15:43

This is almost unfathomable. Jafta, in the course of testifying about how the SSA was put to use in service of ANC faction fights and explaining how spies often intervened to advance the interests of the party and its president (Zuma), explains how poor internal financial management was.

Enormous amounts were doled out once an operation was approved. And then he says R9 billion is unaccounted for. That's R9 000 000 000. Zondo sounds exasperated, almost defeated and asks how there could not be any accounting for it. "That money could have gone into anyone's pocket." The SSA clearly was a tool in the hands of ANC factions and their political project. 

- Pieter du Toit

Zondo is clearly dismayed by evidence that R9 billion spent at SSA could not be accounted for – largely as a consequence of a total lack of proper oversight over Agency spending.

“That’s a lot of money,’ Zondo says. “How could you have a government department not be able to account for R9 billion?” He adds: “I have a suspicion no heads rolled.”

“Whatever the position is, this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.” 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 15:36

Jaftha says R125 million in the 2017-18 financial year could not be accounted for, because of the kinds of accounting procedures that were followed. Another R9 billion "disappeared", he said, citing evidence in his affidavit. 

Zondo said in response that he suspected "no heads rolled" over that "state of affairs".

26 January 15:22

Zondo asks Jafta if there were any SSA records that showed that Agency funds were used to support ANC party activities.

“They were appropriately disguised," Jafta says, adding that some of these disguises were “comical”. It was apparent what the true purpose of these ANC-oriented operations actually were, he says. This is key, as it suggests that there are SSA records that could be used to prove that the ANC used Agency money to fund its party activities. This, if proven, amounts to the fraudulent theft of taxpayers’ money.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 14:46

Jafta says he “absolutely” believes that former President Zuma’s estranged wife MaNtuli was detained against her will by the SSA – after she was accused of poisoning Zuma in 2014. Zondo says this, if true,is a “very serious” matter.

The NPA chose not to charge MaNtuli, who has described being forced to take lie detector tests by SSA agents during her detention, on the basis that there was no evidence that Zuma was, in fact, poisoned. She has described her experiences at the hands of SSA as “hell”.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 14:37

The commission resumes. Jafta continues with testimony. 

26 January 14:12

Two small, if notable, observations about Monday's testimony by Sydney Mufamadi and Tuesday's testimony by Loyiso Jafta: it's clear that the culture of the SSA was purposely altered during the Zuma years to place the president and the state at the centre of the institution's mandate.

Mufamadi testified about the oath that SSA employees took which was changed to denote loyalty to the person of the president and minister. And Jafta testified about the very name of the SSA - the state security agency - which sought to put the state, not the Constitution or the nation or the country, at the centre of its mandate. That means fealty towards individuals, not our supreme law or its people. No wonder it became so utterly corrupted, probably beyond redemption.

- Pieter du Toit

26 January 13:21

State capture inquiry: Zondo dismisses state security minister's bid to block spy boss from testifying

An attempt by State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo to have the evidence of acting spy boss Loyiso Jafta at the state capture inquiry postponed, claiming to be concerned about national security, has been dismissed.

Jafta, the acting director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA), was set to take the stand on Tuesday to give evidence before the commission of inquiry into state capture being chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

READ MORE

26 January 13:21

"For sure I believe money was stolen," Jafta says, before adding that there is clear evidence that millions were stolen from the SSA. He further reveals that the SSA gave guns to officials who weren't employed by the Agency. This amounted to clear abuse of resources, he says.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 13:10

Abuse of resources include:

- When firearms of the state given to non-SSA members of the state.

- When you have personnel of the agency being deployed to carry out responsibility that fall outside of mandate of the SSA.

- Fixed assets/ immovable assets that get registered in the name of advocate Ntsebeza and they become part of his estate. 

Jafta explains.

Commission adjourns for lunch break.

26 January 13:06

J: The best democracies in the world don't have the contract of all this authority in one pair of hands. To work in secret is absolutely necessary in intelligence. If you have one or two bad people, abuse of resources come in hand. This is not theoretical; this is real authority. Secrecy requires a very measured degree of transparency. It is not a problem itself.

26 January 12:53

EXCLUSIVE | Zuma told ‘bogus union’ to spy on Amcu

The leaders of a trade union that was allegedly established as a covert intelligence project claims they received instructions from President Jacob Zuma to spy on rival trade unions such as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

This is among the explosive claims made in a civil suit brought against Zuma and several government ministers and departments in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. 

READ MORE

26 January 12:52

J: There are monies that left the agency for the purposes of funding the ANC for the activities of a particular fraction within the ANC. Particularly whenever we go towards an election, there would be projects funded to enhance the ANC.

26 January 12:49

J: The distinct one I remember, is when a member travels, you are given a temporary advance, what happened in our instance, they would take the temporary advance and use it as a funding instrument for projects. You come up with a project, you cost it and through using the temporary advancement instrument, they would give you 10 million in cash.

Are you saying the correct principles were not followed? You should not be given the whole amount for the project once? And this is what was being breached? Jafta agrees.

26 January 12:48

Jafta: Quite clearly there was executive overreach, instances of unlawful and illegal instruction, that is something that I picked up over time, and oversight was uneven and ineffective.

PP: Did you call for briefings?

J: Yes, for various agents to seek validation.

26 January 12:48

DG Jafta backs up Dr Sydney Mufamadi’s testimony in two crucial respects: one, that “systems for the proper management of finances and expenditure” at the SSA were “not adhered to” and two, that the SSA was spending millions  on “projects outside the boundaries of our legal mandate”.

“Even the constitution may have been disregarded,” he says.

Jafta – who took over as SSA Acting DG on 17 April 2018, after Arthur Fraser was shifted out of his position – says he also became aware that “quite a number” of SSA members “owed the organisation money, often running into millions of rands”.

“Money does not lie,” he says. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 12:42

 Jafta: Quite clearly there was executive overreach, instances of unlawful and illegal instruction, that is something that I picked up over time, and oversight was uneven and ineffective.

26 January 12:37

Jafta: There was quite a number of officials of the state security as members who owed the organisation money, large amounts. I could not understand that members would owe a state organisation so much money.

26 January 12:28

Zondo suggests discussing the matter outside of chambers while Mr Pretorius continues to lead DG's evidence. 

Mr Jafta gets sworn in. 

26 January 12:25

Paul Pretorius: I'm not going to litigate through invective. He says that none of the disgruntled spies have been implicated by the testimony given by Jafta. He says complaints against the Inquiry's lawyers need to be raised formally. Pretorius appears visibly irritated.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 12:18

The bizarre objections now being raised by advocates representing various spies - which centre on their apparent belief that Jafta will implicate them when he testifies - have effectively delayed Jafta's evidence for close to half an hour. An advocate for some of the agents now accusing the Inquiry's evidence leaders of withholding evidence from them - and say they have not acted in good faith. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 12:14

Advocate Gumbi, for an SSA operative codenamed "Dorothy", now arguing that his client has not been properly notified that she was implicated in DG Jafta's evidence.

Zondo: But why should she be given notice if she hasn't been implicated? That argument has no merit.

Opinion: this hearing now appears to be descending into the realm of farce. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 12:05

Submissions by Ntsebeza has concluded. 

26 January 11:58

DCJ Zondo - while stressing that he is "very alive" to concerns about national security - says it seems that Dlodlo has had enough time to articulate her specific concerns about her DG Jafta's evidence. She has not done so. Application for postponement dismissed.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 11:57

Ntsebeza argues the restraints in time caused by curfew in filing documentation and papers raising the necessary concerns.

Zondo says it seems that she had enough time to say what her concerns were.

Zondo dismisses application for postponement. 

26 January 11:52

Counsel for Dlodlo, Dumisa Ntsebeza, persists in asking that DCJ Zondo adjourn Jafta's evidence so that the Minister can respond to his claims. Zondo persists in asking Ntsebeza to articulate specifically how the Minister's concerns about Jafta's evidence specifically impact on national security.

Important: Jafta as DG is legally mandated to decide what classified information can and should be made public. Despite this, the Minister is effectively saying she doesn't trust him to make submissions about the SSA to the Zondo Inquiry. This is arguably illustrative of ongoing leadership dysfunction within the SSA - and clear distrust between the Minister and her second-in-command.  

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 11:51

Zondo unconvinced that Minister Dlodlo has shown any real national security concerns with regard to Jafta's evidence.

It appears extremely likely that he will refuse her request for his testimony to be postponed. Barring an urgent interdict preventing Jafta from testifying, he should take the stand today.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 11:49

Ayanda Dlodlo - a new ministry and forgotten controversies

New State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is set to take the reins of an old portfolio dogged by recent infighting and paranoia, bringing with her a raft of experience, and leaving behind past controversies of her own.

Dlodlo was one of the 28 people appointed in ministerial posts by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, and will be tasked with overseeing the rebranding of the state's security apparatus back to foreign and domestic hubs, after years of infighting.

READ

26 January 11:48

Zondo remains unmoved towards granting an adjournment, he allows for five minutes for further submissions to be made by Ntsebeza. 

26 January 11:45

Adriaan Basson: Mr President, intelligence cannot afford another rogue minister

Fears about State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo weren't unfounded. Six months into the job, she has been accused of issuing illegal interception orders and pushing her own allies to be appointed, writes Adriaan Basson.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to rid our intelligence agencies of rogues, crooks and political interference are threatened by the fallout around State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

READ

26 January 11:41

Mr Ntsebeza continues to bring forward his plead for adjournment. He says the discomfort experienced by Mr Dlodlo is caused by a lack of consultation days ago.

How does this compromise national security, Zondo asks.

Ntsebeza refers Zondo to legislative and reads the regulations, which includes no talks about consultation between the minister and DG, Zondo points out. 

26 January 11:28

Its been quite a morning - it's remarkable that Ayanda Dlodlo, the minister of state security, is trying to prevent evidence by her acting director-general (Loyiso Jafta) being led at a judicial commission of inquiry. Jafta, for his part, seems determined to testify, which indicates that there has been a breach of trust between minister and DG.

This is one hell of a headache for President Cyril Ramaphosa. Dlodlo used to be close to former president Jacob Zuma and moved in his orbit. Ramaphosa surely cannot afford a recalcitrant spy minister trying to preserve an empire clearly gone rogue.

- Pieter du Toit

26 January 11:13

Zondo again stressing Dlodlo's threatened legal action will result in the Inquiry losing a week of its hearing schedule.

"Once we have lost this week, it is difficult to think where we would fit in this evidence again...between now and end of March".

He has already scheduled a number of witnesses and "there a long list of witnesses that I need to fit" - meaning the Inquiry may need to sit beyond 9pm.

Zondo says Inquiry is considering an approach to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask that Inquiry can go beyond curfew times.

In this context, it is apparent that Dlodlo's request for an adjournment - on as yet unarticulated "national security" grounds - is immensely damaging to the Inquiry's hopes of completing its investigations.

-  Karyn Maughan

26 January 11:08

Zondo says he has already scheduled witnesses up until end of March. He says they might have to intensify having evening sessions at this point.  

Zondo: If we lose this week, I don't know where else we would fit in the witnesses and implicated persons. What are the grounds for asking for adjournment? We will need to have that.

Matter stands down until 11:20.

26 January 11:07

DCJ Zondo points out that Minister Dlodlo was given Jafta's affidavit at 8pm yesterday and questions why she still has not identified exactly what in the DG's affidavit may compromise national security. As yet, Dlodlo has not articulated any specific concerns about his statement. Zondo now suggesting that Dlodlo may not be as concerned about national security as she is "about giving her side".  She will be given time to respond, he says. 

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 11:00

State Security DG Loyiso Jafta makes it clear through his advocate Marumo Moerane that he does not believe that the evidence will compromise national security. Inquiry evidence leader Paul Pretorius is adamant that any legal action launched by Minister Dlodlo has very poor prospects of succeeding. He stresses that it is Jafta who has the power to determine whether information is too sensitive to be publicly released - and highlights that Jafta gave Dlodlo two weeks’ notice of his intention to testify. There was no evidence before DCJ Zondo that showed that Jafta should not be allowed to testify, he says.

- Karyn Maughan

26 January 10:59

Legal team head Advocate Paul Pretorius SC reminds the commission that the witness testimony should not jeopardise national security. 

PP: We have a mandate to deal with evidence, that position can only be disturbed by proper application. If there is a postponement, we will lose the week. We cannot afford to lose the week. Those are our submissions. 

26 January 10:53

Extraordinary threat of legal action against the Zondo Inquiry by State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo. It appears she is unhappy that she only received SSA Director-General Loyiso Jafta's affidavit last night - and wants Inquiry to adjourn so she can read it and address what he says.

She maintains she is deeply concerned about impact of this evidence on national security. If the Minister launches legal action, it could effectively prevent Jafta's potentially explosive evidence from being led - because the Inquiry only has  two months to complete its work.

"Every hour counts with us," DCJ Raymond Zondo says, after earlier stating that he did not believe that anything said by Jafta would threaten national security.

- Karyn Maughan

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