DA calls on President Ramaphosa to suspend Arthur Fraser pending an investigation

The DA is shocked that the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, has been forced to approach the High Court to interdict the Director-General of the State Security Agency (SSA), Arthur Fraser, from interfering in the work of his Office.

We will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately put Fraser on suspension pending an investigation into the serious allegations levelled against him, including threatening and intimidating the IGI, not cooperating with his Office, and employing “underhand[ed] tactics”.

Dr Dintwe rightly points out that the IGI “is established by Section 210 of the Constitution of South Africa [to] … perform civilian oversight of the intelligence services”, and his Office should be able to fulfil this vital role unencumbered and free from intimidation.

On 18 May 2017, the DA lodged a formal complaint with the IGI’s Office, in terms of section 7(cA) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act (40 of 1994), requesting an investigation into Fraser’s involvement with the Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme which he, as the then-Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, initiated and oversaw from 2007 to 2009.

Indeed, the DA was aware of his past when then-President Jacob Zuma appointed him in September 2016 and was vehemently opposed it.

Since then our worst fears have been realised with the politicisation of the intelligence services, perhaps epitomised by the dubious intelligence report that was used as a pretext to fire then-Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy in March 2017. In September of the same year we asked the IGI to urgently probe allegations of a covert unit operating within the SSA targeting Zuma’s political opponents and reporting directly to him and then-Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo.

The time has come for President Ramaphosa to reclaim our intelligence services and he can start by putting Fraser on suspension pending an investigation. Fraser has been exposed for the thug he is by opposition parties, journalists, civil society and now the IGI. It is now up to Ramaphosa to act.

DA to ask Inspector-General of Intelligence for update on Arthur Fraser investigation

The DA will be writing to the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, to request a meeting and an update on the investigation into State Security Agency Director-General, Arthur Fraser.
The DA lodged a formal complaint with the IGI’s Office on 18 May 2017, in terms of section 7(cA) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act (40 of 1994), requesting an investigation into Fraser’s involvement with the Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme which he, as the then-Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, initiated and oversaw from 2007 to 2009.
It has now been nearly six months since we approached the IGI and the public interest in the matter has never been greater, prompted largely by Jacques Pauw’s recently released book, The President’s Keepers.
The need for the IGI to expedite his investigation is all the more acute considering Fraser’s links to President Jacob Zuma and mounting evidence of State Capture in government and state entities.
Additionally, Pauw’s book mentions long-serving member of the IGI Office, Jay Govender, by name and implicates her in wrongdoing. Dr Dintwe must act with haste to ensure the integrity of his office.
The DA vehemently objected to Zuma’s outrageous appointment of Arthur Fraser in September 2016, pointing both to his involvement the PAN programme and the irregular government tenders, amounting to millions of rands, secured by Resurgent Risk Management, a company co-founded by Fraser after he was forced out of the intelligence services, disgraced and under investigation.
We will also be calling on the IGI to make his report on Fraser public, rather than referring it to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence which is a closed forum.
The allegations against Fraser are profoundly serious and needs to be prioritised by IGI. It can no longer be left to opposition parties, journalists and civil society to expose the rot in our intelligence community.

DA to refer ‘Project Wonder’ to the Inspector-General of Intelligence for investigation

The DA notes with concern the revelation of continued interference in police operations by suspended heads of SAPS, Crime Intelligence and Hawks through an alleged clandestine intelligence operation called ‘Project Wonder’.
The reported participation of operatives in these agencies in this project, specifically the illegal monitoring of Cabinet Ministers and their support staff, diverts attention away from the real task of fighting crime and shows how the chickens are coming home to roost after years of political interference and capture of the police service.
The DA will therefore refer this alleged unlawful interference and acts of intimidation to the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) for possible investigation.
Berning Ntlemeza, Richard Mdluli and Khomotso Phahlane are currently on suspension for various alleged offences committed during their tenure, which means they could face further sanction should it be established that they are the ringleaders of ‘Project Wonder’.
In addition to the referral of the issue to the IGI, the DA will also write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police to summon Major-General Ngcobo, as the Acting Head of Crime Intelligence (CI), to come and brief Parliament on what his Division will do to clamp down on rogue CI officers who are suspected of participating in ‘Project Wonder’.
We cannot allow stability in our state security institutions to be corrupted by a mafia of rogue elements whose objective has mutated from fighting organised crime to conducting illegal witch-hunts to promote narrow agendas.
Confidence in state security sector is already at an all-time low. It is therefore unacceptable that there are sustained efforts to promote further destabilisation and abuse of state resources.
Organised violent crime in the country is at an all-time high and has been escalating continuously for years, therefore it is important that SAPS and its crime intelligence structures are focused on fulfilling their core objective of fighting crime. Any unrelated undertakings is a betrayal to South Africans who are forced to live their lives in fear because of organised crimes like robberies, hijackings and human trafficking.
The DA looks forward to the initiation of an investigation by the IGI into ‘Project Wonder’. Those implicated must face the full might of the law.
It is abundantly clear that the only way to ensure that sanity and stability is restored in our state security sector is to remove this corruption-ridden ANC government which has bred such lawlessness. In its place we must have a DA-led national government elected that will put the fight against crime firmly back on the agenda under fit-for-purpose leadership whose integrity is beyond reproach.

DA to ask Inspector-General of Intelligence to probe spying by Gupta proxies

The DA will ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to urgently probe allegations that state resources were used to spy on prominent South Africans, on behalf of the Gupta family.
Shocking media reports on 24 June detailed how Sahara Chief Executive and close Gupta associate, Ashu Chawla, had access to sensitive, confidential and private state-held information about prominent South Africans. These included the personal and travel information of EFF leader, Julius Malema; former Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, and his wife, Absa CEO Maria Ramos; Investec CEO Stephen Koseff; and the chairpersons of FirstRand and RMI holding companies, Laurie Dippenaar and GT Ferreira.
Subsequent media reports have also detailed surveillance of prominent journalists and editors, allegedly as part of an intimidation and harassment campaign by former Gupta employees.
Following the first reports, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs called on Malusi Gigaba to appear before it to explain what role that his former department played in this breach. On two occasions Gigaba failed to present himself.
It remains the DA’s contention that Chawla could only have received the information from persons within the Department of Home Affairs and the State Security Agency (SSA).
It is deeply concerning that state resources may have been used to provide the Gupta family with information on perceived ‘opponents’. It also points to the seeming dysfunction in South Africa’s intelligence services that a clandestine spy network, reporting to the Guptas, exists within government.
It is distressing that the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, once again finds himself embroiled in a scandal involving the misuse of state intelligence resources. It seems the SSA is either unable or unwilling to do its actual job, namely “provid[ing] the government with intelligence on domestic and foreign threats or potential threats to national stability, the constitutional order, and the safety and wellbeing of our people”.
The former and current ministers of Home Affairs and State Security all have explaining to do. It is our earnest hope that the IGI can get to the bottom of these serious allegations.

IGI confirms investigation into ‘intelligence report’ leading to the firing of Pravin Gordhan

Note to Editors:  Please find copies of the correspondence between David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, and Dr Sethlomamaru Dintwe, the Inspector-General of Intelligence, here and here.
The Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr. Sethlomamaru Dintwe, has confirmed that the origins of the “intelligence report” that reportedly led to the firing of former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, will be investigated.
On 31 March 2017 I wrote to the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Dr. Sethlomamaru Dintwe, requesting him to:
…investigate inter alia whether the ‘intelligence report’ was produced, or disseminated, by any element within the national intelligence structure, or whether any element within the national intelligence structure played any role in the production, or the dissemination, of the ‘intelligence report’, and if so, whether same amounted to a violation of the Constitution, any law, any regulation and/or any policy applicable to the national intelligence structure in South Africa.”
The request followed reports suggesting that President Jacob Zuma acted on a bizarre “intelligence report”, claiming the former minister intended to use an international investor roadshow to mobilise people to overthrow the state, as a pretext to cancel the former minister’s international investor roadshow and to request his immediate return to South Africa.
On 05 April 2017 the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr. Sethlomamru Dintwe, replied as follows:
You are advised that the matter is under investigation and I will revert to you in due course.”
We welcome the investigation because we need to get to the bottom of whether any element within the national intelligence structure played any role in the production or dissemination of the bizarre “intelligence report” reportedly used as a pretext for the cabinet reshuffle which pulled the plug on the economy and triggered “junk status” in South Africa.

Inspector General of Intelligence must investigate Chief Justice office robbery

Media reports today, quoting sources close to the investigation of the break-in at the Office of the Chief Justice on 18 March, claim that the leading suspect in the case, Nkosinathi Msimango, has links to the State Security Agency (SSA).
I will be writing to the newly appointed Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, requesting that his office also investigate the incident and the alleged link with the SSA.
The DA is on record saying that the burglary is highly suspicious, and can only be viewed as an act of intimidation targeting our judiciary.
We are also on record calling on Dintwe to investigate the growing dysfunction in the intelligence services and address suspicions of the intelligence services involving itself in political intrigue.
We believe it is incumbent on the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, to address claims of SSA involvement in this outrageous crime and to clarify Msimango relationship with the SSA, if any.
The significance of the break-in at the office of the Chief Justice cannot be downplayed and nothing short of a complete and thorough investigation is required, including an investigation into state involvement.

Two years without an Inspector General of Intelligence as we celebrate the Constitution that created the position

The DA calls on President Jacob Zuma to stop dragging his heels and appoint Prof Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe as the new Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI).
This crucial position, created by section 210(b) of the Constitution, has now been vacant since March 2015. As a consequence, there has been no oversight of South Africa’s intelligence services for nearly two full years!
Prof Dintwe was found to be the most suitable candidate for the position and, on 29 November 2016, the National Assembly passed a resolution approving the recommendation for the appointment of Prof Dintwe to the vacant post.
The DA has been tireless in its efforts to finalise the appointment of a suitable IGI. In March 2016 the DA successfully blocked the nomination of Cecil Burgess, the architect of the “Secrecy Bill” and a “whitewashed” report on “Nkandlagate”, to the post of IGI. Six months later we wrote to the chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence demanding that the committee urgently reconvene and resume its search for an IGI.
At the time, the DA vehemently objected to the appointment of Arthur Fraser as the new Director-General of the State Security Agency. Fraser’s suitability for the position is highly questionable and the new IGI must make an investigation into this dubious appointment his first order of business.
Ultimately, the IGI must investigate the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, who has been proven to keep company with rhino horn traffickers, organised crime figures and criminally accused student “leaders”, among others.
Parliament today launched, to much fanfare, a campaign to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Constitution and the NCOP. Meanwhile, the IGI, a constitutional appointment, “celebrates” two years of being vacant. All the while, Minister Mahlobo and his cronies continue to have unbridled access to the security services without civilian oversight. Prof Dintwe has been tapped to fulfil this important function. He must be allowed to start his work.