Pressure builds on former spy boss Arthur Fraser
Inspector-general of intelligence Dintwe says the investigation will continue, DA set to challenge his new position
Former spy boss Arthur Fraser is facing mounting pressure on two fronts, as Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe has indicated an investigation in which he is implicated will continue.
And the DA will "almost certainly" approach the courts to challenge the move to appoint him as national commissioner of correctional services.
On Thursday, State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba set aside Fraser’s decision to revoke Dintwe’s security clearance. A court showdown between Fraser and Dintwe was averted after Letsatsi-Duba sent a letter to Dintwe on Wednesday indicating that Fraser’s decision had been provisionally set aside to allow the inspector-general access to the office so he could continue with his work.
Earlier this week, Fraser was moved from his position as director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA) to that of national commissioner of correctional services, two days before the court battle was due to start.
Fraser had revoked Dintwe’s security clearance in the midst of an investigation in which he was a target.
Dintwe indicated in court papers that allegations against Fraser included that he fraudulently copied the signature of former intelligence services minister Ronnie Kasrils to establish an illegal intelligence programme known as the Principal Agent Network (Pan).
Improperly awarded tenders
Fraser was also alleged to have improperly awarded tenders and contracts to people associated with his family through Pan. These claims were made in Jacques Pauw’s book The President’s Keepers.
Dintwe has indicated that Fraser’s decision to revoke his security clearance was done to frustrate his investigation of complaints against Fraser and it was "unlawful". But Brian Dube, SSA spokesman, said on Thursday that the minister’s letter indicated Dintwe would still have to be properly revetted, a process acting director-general Loyiso Jafta would facilitate in accordance with the law.
Dintwe said on Thursday that the minister, with Jafta, had confirmed he would be provided with all classified information required for the execution of his functions.
He said he was "grateful" for the intervention and would continue with the execution of his functions. Dintwe said Letsatsi-Duba and Jafta had both given undertakings that they would co-operate with his investigation. However, the courts are not out of the picture as Dintwe will continue with a bid to have sections of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act declared unconstitutional.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday to demand answers on Fraser’s move to correctional services, including the process followed in appointing him and when the decision was made.
Maimane said the DA believed Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint Fraser to correctional services was "irrational".
"We are waiting to hear what reasons the president has and that will form the basis of what the review application will be," Mai mane said.
This was "almost certainly" going to make its way to court, said Maimane.
Ramaphosa had until 4pm on Thursday to provide answers.
Mamaine said the DA could not accept that Fraser was now the national commissioner of correctional services.
Business Leadership SA (BLSA) also took issue with Fraser’s appointment on Thursday, saying it was concerned by the developments.
"We have listened to the strategic considerations that have influenced the changes, but we vehemently disagree. A person facing such serious allegations, and who was found to have limited managerial skills, should not be in charge of a government department at all," said BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale.