'I am not a spy': ANC MP Xiaomei Havard on China 'spy report'

State Security Agency distances itself from report

01 September 2021 - 16:43
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Xiaomei Havard occupies the parliamentary seat of the late Jackson Mthembu. File photo.
Image: Facebook Xiaomei Havard occupies the parliamentary seat of the late Jackson Mthembu. File photo.

ANC donor and MP Dr Xiaomei Havard believes a “leaked intelligence report” implying that she was spying for China is a smear campaign to discredit her.

The State Security Agency (SSA) purportedly raised concerns about Havard possibly sharing classified information with China, according to a report by News24 on Wednesday.

The DA in response called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to make the report public.

“There are several mafias who have been sabotaging me for over five years. They plotted the distorted story, linked with several media. I am not a spy,” Havard told TimesLIVE.

“I never engage any spy allegations. Only God is with me, behind me. God will punish all these mafias and their stories [and] put the evil to hell. I've had enough, have to take legal action against the evil,” she added.

The 55-year-old China-born politician, who in January emerged from political obscurity to occupy the parliamentary seat of late presidency minister Jackson Mthembu, told Sunday Times Daily in July that she had made several donations to the ANC — between R2m to R4m.

Two of her non-profit companies were, at the time, under the spotlight after allegations by international scholars that, through them, she was linked to a shadowy organisation within the Chinese Communist Party, the United Front Work Department (UFWD).

“It was claimed she had donated R2m to R4m to the ANC, and many saw this as the reason she became an MP. She was given the parliamentary seat of the late minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu,” DA shadow minister of state security Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Wednesday.

“It was claimed she was linked to the shadowy UFWD, an entity within the Chinese Communist Party. The report claimed the UFWD aims to build patronage networks and cement Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere.”

Referring to the “leaked intelligence report”, Barnard said the DA had requested it be put on the agenda of the joint standing committee on intelligence and argued it was in the public interest and “not something that should be discussed behind closed doors”.

Zizi Kodwa, deputy minister responsible for state security in the presidency, said in a statement that the SSA distanced itself from “wild” allegations levelled against Havard. 

Kodwa said the agency has taken note and serious exception to the News24 exclusive article.

The SSA, he added, was aware of escalating information peddling by both unscrupulous members and external forces who he claimed were deliberately peddling false information to harm the agency's integrity.

“We therefore condemn with the contempt it deserves the attack on the integrity of Ms Havard and the malicious portrayal of the Chinese government as hostile to SA’s national security,” said Kodwa.

“Ms Havard, like any other South African, is entitled to the rights contained in our bill of rights as enshrined in the constitution.”