Spy agency broke rules to guard ANCYL leaders

Minister comes clean with Ramaphosa over SSA abuses

27 January 2019 - 00:05 By BONGANI FUZILE and ZINGISA MVUMVU


The State Security Agency (SSA) has been providing close protection to leaders of the ANC Youth League in contravention of its mandate.
State security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba reveals this in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, which the Sunday Times has seen, in which she spells out why the agency will receive a disclaimer from the auditor-general for the 2017-2018 financial year.
Letsatsi-Duba says the agency's financial woes were partly due to the actions of former deputy director-general Thulani Dlomo, an ally of Jacob Zuma, who the minister said had employed 40 agents without approval when he was responsible for special operations at the SSA.
She said in the letter that the SSA had deployed agents for a "protective security detail" for youth league leader Collen Maine, his deputy Desmond Moela and "other private persons".
"The provision of such protective security detail is extraneous to the legislative mandate of the agency and contravenes the express prohibition on the agency or its members to further, in any partisan manner, any interests of a political party," she wrote.
Sources at the SSA said Maine and Moela benefited from the day they took over leadership of the governing party's youth wing in September 2015.
Maine was not available for comment.
Moela told the Sunday Times the SSA had offered him personal security but he had declined it.
"I know that an assessment was done and I was provided with [the security detail] but I did not use it," Moela said.
"When the assessment was done, it was a burning issue, and then after that I said I will not be able to use the security, I will be fine."
It is not clear who the "other private persons" mentioned in the minister's letter were.
Letsatsi-Duba asked Ramaphosa to recall Dlomo from his post as ambassador to Japan, which he took up in 2017.
Media reports said this week Dlomo had already been recalled, along with four other diplomats, at the request of Letsatsi-Duba.
The spokesperson of the department of international relations, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, was quoted as saying she had made the recall request to the department on the grounds that the five diplomats were needed back in SA.
All are former officials of the SSA and Dipuo-Letsatsi said she wanted them to strengthen capacity at the agency.
But in her letter to Ramaphosa, the minister said: "Ambassador Dlomo [must] be recalled … to respond to questions regarding the activities [of] special operations conducted under his direction and responsibility."
The Sunday Times could not reach Dlomo for comment.
An insider in the department said the minister had written the letter to save the department from further embarrassment. "The minister had to act, this is embarrassing to the state," said the source, who asked not to be named.
The SSA declined to comment on the letter. Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, referred queries to the agency.
Letsatsi-Duba said in the letter the that the security squads for Maine and Moela, as well as Dlomo's recruitment of 40 agents, constituted unauthorised expenditure. She wants the inspector-general of intelligence and other law enforcement agencies to probe the matter further.
The AG is expected to report that the SSA failed to submit documents relating to operational expenditure in the amount of R164m for the 2017-2018 financial year.
Since taking over in February, the minister has been trying to clean up an agency weakened by political interference, gross mismanagement and corruption.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.