Testifying before the Zondo Commission this morning (Jan 27), the State Security Agency’s (SSA) acting director, Loyiso Jafta, manned up where many others before him got the jitters and told of how billions of government wasteful spending went on illegal covert operations demanded by Jacob Zuma.
The government had managed to recover some of the stolen money but the rest had already been used to sustain and protect the Zuma horror reign. The lost amounts totalled R9 billion from 2017, used to keep an eye on the media, the judiciary, civil society, academia and unions – all without their knowing. And it all came from taxpayers’ pockets.
Government wasteful spending
In what reads much the same as a spy novel, the Commission heard that “cash kept on being dished out, without anyone knowing where it came from or where it went.”
Zuma’s minister of state security, David Mahlobo (appointed in 2016), had signed receipts for around R80-million in cash, doled out between 2015 and 2017, collected from the SSA and allegedly destined for the former president’s personal or political use. Mahlobo is still employed by the government as deputy minister of human settlements with “no memory of any covert operations.”
Mufamadi said the cash trail had gone cold with Mahlobo, who is still gainfully employed by the SA government as deputy minister of human settlements, water and sanitation, and there was no concrete evidence that the money had been passed to Zuma. Money had apparently being spent outside the boundaries of the SSA’s legal mandate and “creative ways were conjured up around the Constitution in order to do things that were unlawful and outside the Constitution.”
The system was circumvented by agents or operatives being provided with a “TA” or temporary advance, which would then facilitate the release of millions for projects based only on the flimsiest and vaguest of “certificates”.
According to Marianne Thamm of Daily Maverick, many of the operations had been coordinated and carried out by the office of the DG with no oversight and with direct involvement by Mahlobo. During 2009 to early 2018, the Commission heard that there existed strong evidence and circumstantial evidence about members of the national executive (ministers), regularly ran operations.
The SSA’s unlawful activities, the Commision was told, spilled over into civil society and the trade union movement with the establishment of a bogus union, the Workers Association Union, to rival Amcu in the platinum belt. Especially the judiciary was a target for intelligence operations. Judges allegedly accepted bribes to favour Zuma.
With regard to Project Justice, an alleged operation aimed at influencing the judiciary, Jafta said, “You have to assume that the judiciary was a target for intelligence operations and that could only be political.”
What became alarmingly clear was that said that with the SSA there was not an absence of rules, but “an evasion of rules”. The Commission also heard that former first lady, Nompumelelo Ntuli,had possibly been held “against her will” in a R5-million safe house Mahlobo had secured in “Operation Tin Roof”.
The most frightening about these revelations is the fact that it put South Africa and its peoples at the mercy of a megalomaniac ruler and in the long run, would have impacted the national security.