State Security Agency 'had structures to deal with opponents of state capture'
Inspector-general of intelligence Isaac Dintwe believes that a “parallel vetting structure” was established by the State Security Agency (SSA) to deal with opponents of the state capture project.
And for this Dintwe fingered two top spooks — former special ops boss Thulani Dlomo and erstwhile spy boss Arthur Fraser.
The SSA, he said, had two vetting structures — one for allies of former president Jacob Zuma and a rogue one for anyone who was opposed to corruption, fraud and malfeasance in the public sector.
According to Dintwe, who was testifying at the Zondo commission on Wednesday evening, the activities of the parallel vetting structure were epitomised by three highlighted events.
Among these was the withdrawal of the security clearance to former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana not long after it was issued. The withdrawal, said Dintwe, followed mistrust and fears that he was going to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma.
“What they did, after the 6th of March 2014 when the clearance certificate was issued, days later unbeknown to Mr Nxasana the then-general manager in the SSA gave instructions that further investigation must be done on Mr Nxasana,” said Dintwe.
It was at this point that Dlomo joined the fray, directing the investigator to “unidentified referees” in KwaZulu-Natal who were to be interviewed.
It was during this investigation that it was found that Nxasana had decades ago been charged with murder, of which he was acquitted.
On this information, Zuma authorised an inquiry into Nxasana's fitness to hold office which led to his ultimate removal.
Dintwe said when he investigated the matter, it came as a shock to him that the Nxasana file had gone missing and the only digital file that existed was unsigned and no-one knew the author.
But this was not the only incident of parallel vetting that Dintwe flagged.
Another event was the snubbing of the renewal of Robert McBride's stint as independent police directorate (Ipid) boss after SSA refused to vet him again because of a complaint to crime intelligence about him.
The complaint against McBride was from a service provider to crime intelligence who alleged McBride had been engaged in some financial misconduct in a foreign country. The same complainant accompanied investigators to the foreign country to investigate, only for them to return saying it was a false alarm.
“They come back and said the information was negative but by that time there was someone appointed at Ipid as the head [and McBride had missed the bus]," said Dintwe.
Dintwe himself was a victim of rogue vetting at the hands of Fraser.
It all started when then DA chief whip John Steenhuisen lodged a complaint with the IGI on alleged misconduct by Fraser. Fraser wrote to Dintwe requesting that he hand over “classified information” given to him by Steenhuisen.
But there was no such classified information in Steenhuisen's complaint, said Dintwe, though he would have refused even if there was.
Fraser launched a counter-investigation against Dintwe, accusing him of refusing to report to the SSA about classified information given to him.
On that basis, Fraser informed Dintwe that he would be subjected to another vetting process and that his clearance certificate was being withdrawn with immediate effect.
“Then I received a letter which barred me from my own office. The office was brought to its knees. I did not go to the office because I was scared there could be a standoff,” said Dintwe.
After he took Fraser to court to force his hand to reverse the withdrawal of the clearance certificate, then-state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Dube intervened and reinstated Dintwe's clearance.
“One of the parallel structures was a structure that was used to vet two categories of people. You will have that group that was viewed as the opponents of state capture and the other group that would facilitate state capture,” he said.
“The security clearance was used to fight against those who were opposed to corruption, fraud and malfeasance.”