Zuma said intelligence report used to sack Gordhan and Jonas 'may not exist': intelligence watchdog

IGI says 'the modus operandi is that they besmirch you'

21 April 2021 - 22:11
Former president Jacob Zuma apparently told the IGI that the intelligence report he relied upon to remove Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from office 'may not exist'. File photo
Former president Jacob Zuma apparently told the IGI that the intelligence report he relied upon to remove Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from office 'may not exist'. File photo
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/THULI DLAMINI
The infamous intelligence report used to unceremoniously remove minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas in 2017 “may not exist”. 

 

This is allegedly what former president Jacob Zuma told inspector-general of intelligence (IGI) Isaac Dintwe.

This is despite Zuma having claimed existence of the report to ANC officials when he justified the reason for his decision to sack Gordhan and Jonas as finance minister and deputy respectively.

Dintwe was testifying at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday evening, among other issues, on “questionable intelligence reports” he had investigated since assuming office in 2017. The notorious alleged intelligence report used to remove Gordhan and Jonas, titled “operation checkmate”, was one such questionable report, said Dintwe. 

A complaint was laid by three parties — the DA, the SACP and a private citizen in Gauteng — with the IGI to investigate the matter.

Upon launching the investigation, Dintwe requested a meeting with Zuma which was granted.
 

“It was a very nice meeting,” said Dintwe in what appeared to have been Zuma using his charm to disarm the IGI. “He [Zuma] said that he is hearing people talking about an intelligence report and that that report may be none-existent because as a president sometimes [he] gets verbal briefings.

“He said when the time is right he will explain the issue so that I understand.”

And with that it was the end of the meeting without Dintwe having clarity about the existence of the said intelligence report or the authenticity thereof.

“What we had was what we downloaded on the internet like everybody else and the president had not taken ownership of it,” said Dintwe. “So I said that we cannot deal with origin of a document and veracity if it is unowned at all.”
 

Dintwe said Zuma left the office without fulfilling his promise to explain and with that the investigation was left with an inconclusive finding.

The IGI however said all intelligence services in the country distanced themselves from ever giving Zuma a report or briefing about Gordhan and Jonas.

“My finding was that I could not reach a finding because I did not have any document that could verify its authenticity and its origin.

“The modus operandi is that they besmirch you, you suffer the consequences and then there is nothing that actually implicates. They even go to the extent of saying it was a wrong alarm bell but by that time, for instance, the two people [Gordhan and Jonas] were out of their positions.”  

ANC officials who have deposed affidavits to the commission have also said Zuma only briefed them about the existence of the alleged intelligence report but never provided a  copy.

Jessie Duarte and Gwede Mantashe wrote in their affidavits: “At a meeting of the ANC officials on March 27 2017, former president Zuma informed the officials of an intelligence report which made reference to a meeting that minister Gordhan had attended in London.

“He did not produce the report but said that the contents gave him great discomfort.” 

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