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State security minister Dlodlo keeping a close eye on spooks battle playing out at Zondo commission

27 January 2021 - 17:16 By kgothatso madisa
State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo says it's her job to be in the know on intelligence information in the SSA. File image.
State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo says it's her job to be in the know on intelligence information in the SSA. File image.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo has vowed to keep a close watch on developments at the Zondo commission after her unsuccessful bid to block her department's acting director-general from leading damning evidence against the institution.

In a statement on Wednesday, Dlodlo said she “has decided to reserve the right to file a formal substantive application to the commission”.

This was after the commission of inquiry into state capture, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, on Tuesday threw out an application by Dlodlo to block SSA acting DG Loyiso Jafta from presenting evidence before the inquiry, arguing that allowing him to do so would compromise national security.

But Zondo rejected that argument and allowed Jafta to proceed with his evidence, which painted a grim picture of the state of SSA and how its resources, including hundreds of millions of rand, were abused for the alleged benefit of former president Jacob Zuma, his cronies and members of his ANC faction.

Dlodlo on Wednesday said she attempted to block Jafta from testifying because she wanted him to brief her first so that she could appraise President Cyril Ramaphosa of the situation.

Dlodlo said this was not an attempt to frustrate the work of the Zondo commission, but that she sought an opportunity to go through his evidence so she could properly brief the president.

“Ms Dlodlo will continue to observe the proceedings of the commission as it relates to the evidence of state security personnel,” her spokesperson Mava Scott said.

Dlodlo said: “We have on a previous occasion successfully asked for indulgence from the chair in respect of the inspector-general’s testimony to the commission and so this was not malicious nor an intention to frustrate the work of the commission.”

She said the postponement she had sought would have given her time to consult with Jafta on the type of information he would be tabling at the commission. This, she said, was in line with her job as the executive authority of the SSA, tasked with protecting the state’s and national secrets and security.

“The law enjoins me as minister of intelligence to exercise oversight and ultimate executive authority over all intelligence matters of the country – such oversight responsibility would be near impossible to achieve without information at my disposal - the least I am entitled to is a full disclosure of all intelligence information in the agency so that I can exercise my custodial responsibility,” she said.

After her failed bid on Tuesday, Jafta led jaw-dropping evidence at the commission concerning how SSA money was allegedly used to fund factional politics of the ANC and how at least R125m allegedly disappeared under the watch of his predecessor Arthur Fraser.

Fraser has since disputed these claims through his legal representative at the commission, saying Jafta was telling “deliberate falsehoods”.

Dlodlo has vowed to implement the recommendations of the high-level review panel which was tasked with unearthing illegalities and corruption in the SSA. 

“The work to rebuild and restore the credibility of the agency is under way in line with the recommendations of the high-level review panel and I cannot be the one to circumvent such efforts, as some seem to suggest,” she said.

“For as long as I hold the constitutional responsibility of being a custodian of national security, I will spare no effort in safeguarding matters of national security and to put measures in place to prevent acts of corruption from happening in the system.”