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WRAP | Mahlobo's evidence at Zondo inquiry

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09 Apr 2021

The commission has wrapped up for the day

09 Apr 2021

In closing remarks, Mahlobo thanks both Zondo and Pretorius. 

09 Apr 2021

Pretorius says he has wrapped up his questions for now, saying he will have more questions in future appearances. 

09 Apr 2021

Pretorius, reading from an affidavit, says that Mahlobo was approached by a former Wits SRC president regarding student protests in 2015. Mahlobo says he doesn't want to deal with questions on that issue. 

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo denies more allegations regarding claims in an affidavit by a person under the name "Shadow". 

09 Apr 2021

The commission resumes

09 Apr 2021

The inquiry adjourns for 10 minutes

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

Zondo chimes in, saying the constant reading of "Mr blank" for every person named in the affidavit may be confusing for those following along. Zondo suggests Pretorius read the number of the paragraph he is reading before reading the content. 

09 Apr 2021

Pretorius continues reading the affidavit, substituting names by saying "blank", while Mahlobo follows along with a copy of the affidavit in front of him. 

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo says Pretorius should refrain from reading names in the affidavit. He says those names may be of people involved in "covert operations". 

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo says he has a "very serious problem" with the affidavit being read by Pretorius regarding the SSA. He says he doesn't want to "fall into a trap any secret entrusted to me". He says Pretorius should "omit certain names" while Pretorius is reading the affidavit. 

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo denies receiving cash intended for judges as a bribe. He says the statements are "malicious... no directive was ever given". The reality is there was no money delivered to me. This, Mahlobo says, is a ploy to bring the name of the judiciary into disrepute.

"I deny this," he says.

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Pretorius is reading several witness statements to Mahlobo which involve large amounts of money; the origin of the instruction to retrieve the cash and where to drop it off: at Mahlobo's residence.

Mahlobo simply replies, interchangeably, "No" or "Deny".

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

The commission takes another short break. Back at 17:00. 

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo: There is no money that was delivered to me. 

- Mahlobo adds that there are internal checks and balances if any money is taken from the agency. In other words, there would be a paper trail.

Pretorius: Are you saying there is a procedure that is followed when cash is delivered to your residence?

Mahlobo: I never said that. I am on record that there is no money that was delivered to me. 

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

DCJ Zondo addresses the commission after a short adjournment: "The arrangement that has been made is that we are not going to interrupt Mr Mahlobo's evidence. The hearing of Mngoma's evidence will now be Tuesday evening."

The question of Malusi Gigaba's application for leave to cross-examine Mngoma will be dealt with separately. 

09 Apr 2021

Given that the commission had a lot to cover today, including testimony from Norma Mngoma, a short break has been called (15 minutes) to map a way forward because it appears the evidence leader is still going to spend some time with Mahlobo. 

09 Apr 2021

Here is a breakdown of the R130 million in question, which has Mahlobo's signature, dated 16 November 2015:

- R90 million domestic intelligence;

- R20 million for ministers project;

- R20 million for foreign intelligence.

09 Apr 2021

"[The] minister does not approve projects," Mahlobo tells the commission (again) after being shown a document where several projects are headlined 'minister's projects'.

To have projects under the aegis of the minister is "misleading", Mahlobo adds. 

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo says someone - who has not appeared before the commission - claiming that Mahlobo introduced him to judges but he does not remember those judges. The same guy, Mahlobo says, "is part of an effort to implicate judges and bring the profession into disrepute".

"There is a judge they are trying to frame. I have never given an instruction that a judge must be bought," Mahlobo says.

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo turns his attention to witnesses from SSA who have appeared before the commission. "They say I have taken money, yet there is no evidence. No paper trail."

What is their fallback? "No, projects are incomplete", Mahlobo tells the commission. There are people who came here and they have gotten away with murder; politicised this [commission].

"Here, we have political animals."

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

The commission is back from the lunch break. Mahlobo continues to give evidence. 

09 Apr 2021

The commission adjourns for lunch, after which evidence will turn to funding of operations at SSA. Back at 14:20.

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo says the country is a "very strategic country" based on location and influence. He adds: "Nobody is immune from being recruited, they can recruit a president, a minister, a judge..."

Pretorius: You say there are negative foreign intelligence actors that negatively impact on the state's ability to govern. Which are some of those actors?

Mahlobo says he cannot divulge: Let us not single out certain sectors. I'm just telling you how our intelligence doctrine works. 

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo tells Mahlobo he can keep his mic on at all times and not switch it off between questions and answers.

In isiZulu, Mahlobo replies: Lendaba ye intelligence iyahlupha. Uyabona la ngaphandle, bayang'buka ukuthi ngiphefumla kanjani.

Loosely translated, Mahlobo says there are agencies watching his testimony across the globe and they are able to profile his demeanour, including his breathing et cetera. 

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Pretorius: Should a minister be involved in operational activities at SSA?

Mahlobo: In my case, I was not involved, but there is no law that says you cannot [be involved]. I never ran operations. 

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo is being taken through several documents; his statement is now the focus. There's a part where he speaks about finding a department beset by political interference. He makes the point that such an issue is not anything new. 

Mahlobo briefly turns his attention to certain accusations made at the commission in relation to SSA and his time as minister. "We will get to that," Mahlobo promises. 

He maintains that he steered the agency to a point of accountability and transparency. 

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Certain aspects of the remedial action were implemented. It was an ongoing process, Mahlobo says. "Actions were taken... there were certain individuals who were not happy about certain aspects of the first report."

There has, not for the first time today, been a to and fro on what can or cannot be said; what information can be disclosed.

Mahlobo and Pretorius can barely get through two questions without there being an objection from Mahlobo saying he is being coaxed into "indirectly" revealing information he isn't allowed to.

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Advocate Pretorius continues on the PAN report.

Pretorius: Were you briefed about the report, either before you you took office or after?

Mahlobo: I received a report, it had recommendations for remedial actions and I said those actions must be acted on. That's the action I took. Secondly, we briefed Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.

Pretorius accepts the reply saying "you have told us what was done, however, I'm not hearing why you cannot tell us what was not done".

The sticking point here is that the report is yet to be declassified and so Mahlobo does not want to "indirectly" disclose information in the report. 

- Kamva Somdyala 

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo says as a minister there are certain embargos on information he can divulge; however, he is here to account. He says he will respond to questions with certain safeguards. He repeats a sentiment from his earlier testimony: "There will also be limitations chair, where matters will seem to be able to indirectly or directly want me to divulge secrets."

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

Mahlobo has arrived at the commission. Proceedings are expected to resume soon.

09 Apr 2021

Technical issues continue to impede Mahlobo's evidence. There is a suggestion that he moves from his current location (he is giving evidence virtually) and make his way to the commission.

He tells the commission he is in Pretoria. Commission chairperson Raymond Zondo tells him he is prepared to adjourn to allow Mahlobo to get to the commission.

The commission adjourns as Mahlobo makes his way to the venue. 

The commission will resume anytime between 11:30 and 11:45

- Kamva Somdyala

09 Apr 2021

The commission resumes: Advocate Pretorius is pressing Mahlobo about his knowledge of a covert Principal Agent Network (PAN 1) at the State Security Agency. He says he read about in the media. Pretorius adds that the commission's investigators said PAN 1 was internally investigated by the agency.

09 Apr 2021

The commission is currently on a short break to sort out technical glitches. 
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