David Mahlobo 'given R21m to deal with conspiring judges', Zondo hears

28 January 2021 - 17:23
Former state security minister David Mahlobo.
Former state security minister David Mahlobo.
Image: Trevor Samson

Former state security minister David Mahlobo has been ducking and diving, running away from accounting for his role in the illegalities that took place at the State Security Agency (SSA) under his watch.

Instead, when an investigation team set up by the new regime at SSA tried to get answers from him in 2018, Mahlobo threatened to spill the beans on then-minister of state security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

This was revealed at the state capture inquiry on Thursday during the testimony of an unidentified operative, simply referred to as “Ms K”.

Mahlobo stands accused of having collected cash payments for two suspicious SSA operations.

One mission was named Project Commitment, under which Mahlobo allegedly collected a sum of R78m in hard cash. The money, the commission heard, was said to be intended for then president Jacob Zuma — though no-one had proof that Zuma received the money.

However, at least three operatives testified to SSA's Operation Veza that they handed the money over to Mahlobo.

According to Ms K, who was a member of Operation Veza, at least two operatives confirmed delivering cash to Mahlobo as part of Project Justice.

This operation was meant to “intensify state authority and control over judiciary” to soften up on the Zuma administration.

One operative, said Ms K, revealed to have “personally delivered” a sum of R13.5m in three equal trenches to Mahlobo.

Another operative told Ms K and company that they had been “instructed to deliver R21m to Mr Mahlobo”, who was going to use the money to “deal with the issue of judges” after an analysis that they were “conspiring to overthrow government”.  

Ms K said they tried to seek answers from Mahlobo and wrote letters to him through the office of then-minister Letsatsi-Duba.

But Mahlobo was having none of it, and was yet to account to date, the witness claimed.

“I have to point out that the letter [to Letsatsi-Duba] was delivered back to the team [of Operation Veza] to be delivered to Mr Mahlobo. When he was contacted, Mr Mahlobo scolded a member of the team and said the member must tell the former minister Letsatsi-Duba that he will expose her,” said Ms K.

The testimony is continuing.

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