Minister Dlodlo gambling with the SSA and SA’s integrity

It may have slipped the new Minister of Intelligence, Ayanda Dlodlo’s mind that she actually needs a Judge’s permission to bug people’s phones. A report by News24 today accuses the Minister of instructing the Head of the State Security Agency (SSA)’s domestic branch, Adv Sam Muofhe, to allegedly intercept telephone calls of a man who was thought to have been behind the flareup in xenophobic violence in Gauteng last month.

While it is paramount that our intelligence agencies perform their functions in detecting and preventing these heinous acts – one would think that obtaining a Judge’s permission would have been foremost on Minister Dlodlo’s mind. It has been just three weeks since her department’s humiliating loss in the High Court, which declared mass surveillance and the interception of foreign signals by the National Communications Centre to be “unlawful and invalid”.

The paint on her office door is barely dry and already the new Minister seems to have stumbled at the first hurdle.

Difficult questions are being asked, and the Minister must be held accountable for her actions. However, since the May 8th Elections, Parliament has been unable to hold the Minister and her department to account as the ANC is rowing backwards as fast as it can in terms of setting up the Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence, months after all other committees began work.

Where is the mandated oversight?  We accept that the committee sits in a closed building, and phones and laptops are forbidden, but Members of Parliament have been hamstrung in their oblligation to look into and dig out this sort of scheming as well as hone in on those breaking the law.

Clearly Minister Dlodlo knows there is no oversight committee, and thinks she has been evading accountability. The Minister should do well to remember that she is answerable to Parliament and cannot hide her skulduggery behind the “it’s confidential” label.  No matter how much she seems to want to be an operative, she must know by now that she cannot involve herself in the SSA’s operational matters.

The previous two Ministers also played this game. They pretended to be Super Spies and turned the whole department into an international joke.

The DA also warns the Minister against threatening South Africa’s increasingly professional investigative journalists, for such threats only makes her look guilty.

DA approaches Constitutional Court to have Arthur Fraser’s appointment declared invalid

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today filed papers (attached here and here) seeking exclusive jurisdiction, alternatively direct access to the Constitutional Court to have President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Arthur Fraser as National Commissioner of Correctional Services set aside with immediate effect. Fraser is a compromised individual who is wholly unfit to hold such a vital position within government, and as such the President erred in his appointment of such an individual.

In light of the damning and serious allegations against Fraser – including that he operated a secret and parallel intelligence service from his own home whilst working for the State Security Agency (SSA) and utilised millions of rands of public funds for personal gain – the President’s decision to appoint Fraser falls foul of the President’s own constitutional obligations. We had initially written to the President seeking answers as to why Fraser was appointed, and the rationale behind this appointment. The President has to date failed to answer these questions, and as such we have little option but to approach the court.

Our legal action seeks an order declaring that the President’s recent appointment of Arthur Fraser violated the President’s constitutional obligation to appoint a National Commissioner who is sufficiently conscientious, has enough credibility to do this important job effectively, and is of good character. Arthur Fraser fails every aspect of this test. In fact, his co-ordination of a parallel intelligence network should have been reason to fire him – not rehire him in a different capacity.

We therefore ask of the court to review and set aside the President’s decision to appoint Arthur Fraser as National Commissioner of Correctional Services on 17 April 2018.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s “New Dawn” has failed to stop the ANC’s long-standing practice of reshuffling compromised individuals within government departments. This practice must be abolished once and for all,  not carried out by the President. In the tight fiscal space our country is currently in, we cannot be wasting millions of rands of public money on dodgy individuals.

DA to seek judicial review of Ramaphosa’s appointment of Fraser

Two days ago I put President Ramaphosa on terms regarding his appointment of the former Director-General of the State Security Agency (SSA), Arthur Fraser, as National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services. I requested information from President Ramaphosa about the procedure followed in appointing Fraser as the National Commissioner, when the decision was made, whether Fraser’s alleged unlawful conduct at the SSA was factored into his new appointment and why Fraser was appointed to a portfolio that he has no experience in.

The deadline for response was 16h00 yesterday. The President failed to meet the deadline and has yet to respond.

In light of the President’s failure to reply, the DA will challenge the lawfulness of Fraser’s appointment – particularly whether it was procedurally and substantively rational in light of Fraser’s track record. Fraser’s co-ordination of a parallel intelligence network should have been reason to fire him, and not rehire him in a different capacity.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s “New Dawn” can’t merely offer an easy way out for compromised individuals like Arthur Fraser. We cannot allow the ANC’s long-standing practice of reshuffling compromised individuals within government departments to continue. They must be fired, not rehired in different capacities.

DA puts President Ramaphosa on terms regarding Fraser’s appointment to Correctional Services

While the DA welcomes Arthur Fraser’s removal as Director-General of the State Security Agency (SSA), we reiterate our disapproval of President Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint Fraser as the National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services. We cannot allow the ANC’s long-standing practice of reshuffling compromised individuals within government departments to continue. They must be fired, not rehired in different capacities.

In light of the very serious allegations levelled against Fraser over his co-ordination of a parallel intelligence network known as the Principal Agent Network (PAN), the lawfulness of Fraser’s removal and new appointment is deeply questionable. Such an appointment must at bare minimum be procedurally and substantially rational.

I have therefore written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting the following information:

    • What process was followed in the appointment of Mr Fraser as National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services;
    • When the decision was made;
    • Whether Mr Fraser’s allegedly unlawful conduct, whilst at the SSA, was taken into account in the decision to appoint him as the National Commissioner of Correctional Services; and
    • On what grounds can it be said that Mr Fraser’s appointment serves the purpose of having him as National Commissioner in the sense that he has no known experience in this portfolio.

There is no “New Dawn” so long as individuals such as Arthur Fraser are recycled within various government departments, and not removed for good.

DA denounces President Ramaphosa’s decision to shift SSA Director-General Arthur Fraser to Correctional Services

The Democratic Alliance denounces President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to transfer the Director-General of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, to the Department of Correctional Services.

While we welcome Fraser’s removal from the SSA, it is completely outrageous that President Ramaphosa has decided to merely transfer Fraser to a different government department in light of the ongoing investigation into the damning criminal allegations against him.

In May of 2017, when the DA submitted a formal complaint to the Inspector General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, Fraser’s alleged criminal activities formed the core of the submission. And it was on the basis of Fraser’s desperate attempts to avoid accountability and frustrate the IGI’s ongoing investigation into his illicit conduct that the DA wrote to President Ramaphosa on 12 April 2018 to request that Fraser be suspended pending the investigation into the damning allegations against him.

The President’s decision to transfer Fraser is nothing short of a continuation of the disgraceful trend started by former President Jacob Zuma where patently corrupt and criminal officials escape liability for their actions.

Evidently, Fraser’s relentless attempts to intimidate and divert attention from his illicit conduct at the SSA has worked – President Ramaphosa and State Security Agency Minister, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, have blinked and are allowing Fraser to get away with little consequence.

It is apparent that much more still needs to be done to reclaim South Africa’s intelligence services and rid it of nefarious characters like Fraser. It is now absolutely critical that the IGI be allowed to expedite and conclude his investigation into unlawful activities at the SSA. Moreover, oversight and accountability mechanisms across our intelligence services must be improved.

The DA will continue to hold those responsible for South Africa’s national security to account and fight to ensure that officials acting unlawfully are exposed and prosecuted.

The DA did not receive classified information from the Inspector-General of Intelligence

The Democratic Alliance rejects allegations that it received classified information from the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe. The DA has at all times acted lawfully when providing information to Dr Dintwe as part of its complaints against Arthur Fraser, the Director-General of the State Security Agency (SSA).

It is public knowledge that on 18 May 2017 the DA lodged a formal complaint with the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelliegence in terms of section 7(cA) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act (40 of 1994). In this complaint, the DA requested an investigation into Fraser’s involvement with the Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme which he, as the former Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, initiated and oversaw from 2007 to 2009.

It is similarly public knowledge that in September of 2017, the DA also requested that the IGI expand the scope of his investigation to also probe allegations of Fraser’s potential involvement in a covert unit operating within the SSA targeting political opponents of former President Jacob Zuma in addition to the initial complaint.

The information at the DA’s disposal which formed the basis of the complaints lodged with the IGI in no way arose from the contents of Jacques Pauw’s book, The President’s Keepers, which was only published in October 2017.

In fact, when the allegations contained in Pauw’s book came to light, the DA again wrote to the IGI in November 2017 requesting a meeting with Dr Dintwe in order to be provided with an update on the progress of the investigations into Fraser’s ostensibly criminal conduct.

The DA has already formally written to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that he place Fraser on suspension pending the conclusion of the investigation into the serious allegations levelled against him.

We now call on President Ramaphosa and the Minister of State Security, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, to also revoke Fraser’s security clearance as a matter of urgency.

Fraser’s attempts to frustrate the investigation into his ostensibly criminal conduct by intimidation and diversion are nothing more than desperate attempts to avoid scrutiny at all costs. It is a clear conflict of interest for Fraser to be allowed to frustrate the IGI’s investigation into him. President Ramaphosa and Minister Letsatsi-Duba must act quickly to protect our national security.

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 lays corruption charges against State Security Minister Bongani Bongo

I have today laid corruption charges against the Minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act.
These charges relate directly to the allegations that Bongo has allegedly offered to bribe Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader in the parliamentary enquiry into state capture at Eskom.
These allegations reveal that Bongo offered Advocate Vanara a bribe in exchange for stepping down as evidence leader in the enquiry.
The DA views Minister Bongo’s actions as a gross violation of the provisions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and the associated Executive Ethics Code which, amongst others, prohibits ministers from using their position to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person and requires that ministers fulfill all obligations imposed upon them by the constitution and law.
These allegations point to a deeply concerning trend at the State Security Agency (SSA), and as such, the charges aim to ensure that credibility and the rule of law is restored within the SSA.
We trust these allegations will be taken seriously and investigated fully.

Bongo bribery allegations: DA to lay criminal charges and lodge complaint with Public Protector

The DA notes with concern the media reports that newly appointed minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, is to be investigated by Parliament’s joint ethics committee for allegedly attempting to bribe the evidence leader of the parliamentary enquiry into state capture, Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.
In addition to the committee’s investigation, we will be laying criminal charges of corruption against minister Bongo in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (12 of 2004) and will also be lodging a formal complaint with the Public Protector to investigate Bongo’s alleged violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act (82 of 1998).
The latest allegations of corruption against Bongo suggest that he has tried to actively collapse the state capture inquiry by offering Advocate Vanara a bribe to resign as evidence leader in the probe into allegations of state capture at Eskom.
If proved to be true, these allegations serve as basis for criminal charges to be pursued and they further amount to a gross violation of the provisions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and the associated Executive Ethics Code which, amongst others, prohibits ministers from using their position to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person and requires that ministers fulfill all obligations imposed upon them by the constitution and law.
The latest raft of allegations further demonstrate a deeply concerning trend for minister Bongo and the beleaguered State Security Agency (SSA).
Despite the fact that minister Bongo has only recently been appointed following President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle on 17 October, it has already emerged that he is currently under active investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for his alleged involvement in fraud and corruption while he served as the head of legal services in the Department of Human Settlements of Mpumalanga in 2012.
The DA has already undertaken to submit parliamentary questions to ascertain if Bongo was properly vetted by the SSA prior to being appointed.
We will now escalate our efforts to ensure that credibility and the rule of law is returned to the operation of the SSA through criminal charges and our complaint to the Public Protector.

DA lays corruption charges against Arthur Fraser and his family

I have today laid corruption charges against State Security Agency (SSA) Director-General (D-G), Arthur Fraser, and his family in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act. This supplements the formal complaint I lodged with the Inspector-General of Intelligence on 18 May 2017.
The allegations against Fraser and members of his family, as detailed most recently in Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers, relate to the period 2007 to 2009 when Fraser, as Deputy D-G: Operations of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), initiated and oversaw the dubious Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme.
An internal investigation into the PAN programme reportedly found wide-scale financial mismanagement, fruitless expenditure, nepotism and corruption amounting to tens of millions of rands.
The investigation is also said to have found sufficient proof to institute criminal investigations against a number of persons involved with the PAN programme, including Arthur Fraser.
Furthermore, the involvement of Arthur Fraser’s family includes:

  • His brother, Barry Fraser, whose company concluded a R24 million lease agreement to warehouse an estimated 293 vehicles, purchased for ‘operational use’;
  • His son, Lyle Fraser, who was employed as the floor manager in the warehouse;
  • His mother, C.F. Fraser, who served as a board member of a community-based organisation dealing with conflict resolution, especially at schools. The PAN programme contributed R10 million towards the organisation which was found to not resort under the mandate of the NIA and produced no product in return;

Pauw’s book and related media reports paint the picture of a covert programme which was used as a personal enrichment scheme for the Frasers and other intelligence operatives. The ‘secret’ nature of their activities have allowed those who fleeced the SSA to escape accountability for far too long.
The outrageous details that have now emerged about Fraser’s past not only reinforce our objections to his appointment in September 2016, but also necessitates a proper investigation into his criminal conduct and that of his family.