Presidency mum on Zuma’s claim that ‘well-known apartheid spies’ are behind SSA report
Former president tweets that panel never questioned him, and warns people may be 'opening a can of worms that they might regret'
The presidency has declined to respond to former president Jacob Zuma’s allegation that two members of the high-level review panel on the State Security Agency (SSA) were known apartheid spies.
“No‚ ma’am,” was all presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko would say when asked if the presidency would comment on Zuma’s claim‚ which was made on Twitter at the weekend.
The panel‚ chaired by former police minister Sydney Mufamadi‚ was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in June 2018 to assess the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and to inquire into its systems and capacity.
I have never been asked any questions by this committee. This committee has 2 well known Apartheid spies. I’ve never sold out nor written letters to the SB. I feel nothing when Apartheid spies call me corrupt. I hope people are not opening a can of worms which they might regret— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) March 10, 2019
The presidency on Sunday released the 10-member panel’s report stating that various financial and operational abuses took place at the SSA to favour Zuma and his political allies.
The panel found that various individuals who opposed Zuma were illegally spied on. A key finding was that there had been political “malpurposing” and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more, resulting in almost complete disregard for the constitution‚ policy‚ legislation and other prescripts.
Besides Mufamadi‚ other members of the panel were Jane Duncan‚ Barry Gilder‚ Siphokazi Magadla‚ Murray Michell‚ Basetsana Molebatsi‚ Andre Pruis‚ Silumko Sokupa‚ Anthoni van Nieuwkerk and Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo.
On Sunday night‚ Zuma took to Twitter, complaining that he was never asked any questions by the panel and also warning that people may be “opening a can of worms that they might regret”.
“This committee has two well-known apartheid spies. I’ve never sold out nor written letters to the SB [Security Branch]. I feel nothing when apartheid spies call me corrupt‚” he wrote.
It is not clear who the “two well-known apartheid spies” Zuma was referring to are‚ and his spokesperson Vukile Mathabela was not available for comment.
Some organisations have called for arrests of those implicated in the report‚ including the former president‚ his two former intelligence ministers‚ Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo‚ and former SSA head Arthur Fraser‚ for defeating the ends of justice and “possibly for treason against the people of this country”.