Thu, 24 Oct 2019

Former president Jacob Zuma has, for the umpteenth time, emerged as the central figure in the dismantling of another institution of state - this time the State Security Agency (SSA).

According to explosive findings by the high-level review panel into the SSA, Zuma breached the Constitution, irregularly made changes to the previous intelligence structures and was directly responsible for executive interference in the workings of the agency.

From the Mufamadi report: To see or not to see

Intelligence services, including Crime Intelligence, have become "extensively embroiled" in the politics and factionalism of the ANC, the report says, and adds that the SSA's integrity has been destroyed and the value of its work has been undermined because of this.

The establishment of a Special Operations (SO) unit under the direction of one of Zuma's trusted lieutenants, Thulani Dlomo, carried out extensive work in support of Zuma personally. It not only provided support services for some of Zuma's most trusted allies like Dudu Myeni, Collen Maine and Berning Ntlemeza, but also attempted to subvert Ramaphosa's campaign for the ANC's leadership.

"It is clear from the above information and other information available to the panel that SO had largely become a parallel intelligence structure serving a faction of the ruling party and, in particular, the personal political interests of the sitting president of the party and country.

"This is in direct breach of the Constitution, the White Paper, the relevant legislation and plain good government intelligence functioning," says the report.

Zuma cadre deployment

Zuma, and his ministers of state security (Siyabonga Cwele, David Mahlobo and for a couple of months, Bongani Bongo) also ensured that pliant officials staffed key positions at the SSA: "In the period being reviewed by the panel, the (former) president and minister have played key parts in deploying 'their people' into the SSA. This makes the appointees beholden to the appointers and this is particularly damaging when the intelligence service is as politicised as the SSA has become."

Besides finding that manipulation of the SSA for factional purposes "emerged from the top, the Presidency", Zuma's involvement in the operations of Dlomo's SO "constitute a serious breach of the Constitution and law for which there must be consequences".

Zuma responded, seemingly threatening Ramaphosa with revelations about his working together with the apartheid police. It echoes similar claims made last month by Mosiuoa Lekota, Cope leader. It was rejected by Ramaphosa.

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