Last year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) formally wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that he place former State Security Agency (SSA) boss, Arthur Fraser – who is currently serving as National Commissioner of Correctional Services – on suspension pending the conclusion of the investigation into serious allegations leveled against him.
The DA also filed an application in the Gauteng High Court to set aside the appointment of Fraser.
These allegations related to Fraser’s involvement in the Principal Agent Network initiated by the SSA and his decision to withdraw the security clearance of the Inspector General of Intelligence in order to block the release of information regarding political collusion.
In response to mounting evidence supporting the DA’s allegations, President Ramaphosa, like a cat in a corner, was left with no choice other than to initiate a High Level Review Panel to probe these claims.
The report released yesterday by the Review Panel vindicates the DA’s claims, with shocking findings including:
- That from around 2005, the leadership and management of the State Security Agency were unable to separate their professional responsibilities from their political inclinations.
- This became progressively worse during the administration of President Jacob Zuma, with parallel structures being created that directly served the personal and political interests of the Zuma and, in some cases, the relevant ministers.
- There has subsequently been a serious politicisation and factionalisation of the intelligence community based on factions in the ANC.
- Those at the top (Arthur Fraser, Siyabonga Cwele, David Mahlobo and Thulani Dlomo) turned the civilian intelligence community into a private resource to serve the political and personal interests of particular individuals (Jacob Zuma).
- The politicisation of the Agency resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts.
- Due to wide-ranging resource abuse, the SSA became in effect a ‘cash cow’ for many of its members and external stakeholders.
Whilst the report does not specifically name those implicated, looking at periods of tenure cited in the report, it is clear that:
- Former SSA Ministers at the time (Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo) as well as then Head of Special Operations (Thulani Dlomo), were complicit in “executive overspill”.
- Cwele ignored warnings by investigators that certain family’s (the Gupta’s) posed a threat to national security.
- Cwele and Mahlobo participated in intelligence operations which constitute “a serious breach of the Constitution and law for which there must be consequences”.
- All of this happened under Fraser’s leadership of the Agency.
The report recommends an overarching overhaul of the intelligence and security architecture of the country.
The Democratic Alliance calls for the immediate suspension from public services of all those implicated. Criminal charges must also be laid with the SAPS to finally bring to book those who have looted the SSA for the nefarious ends of ex-President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta’s and their corrupt cronies.