Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

Intelligence operatives from the disbanded special operations directorate of the State Security Agency were called back from the wilderness to infiltrate the ANC 2017 Nasrec elective conference, the Zondo commission into state capture heard on Friday.

And it was not a cheap mission, as R19m in hard cash was collected from the SSA on the day before the official start of the conference.

Of this amount, the commission heard, R5m was spent on the “kingmaker”. 

The chief of the directorate of special operations (CDSO), which was “purportedly” disbanded by then spy boss Arthur Fraser in 2016, were deployed to the watershed ANC conference.

The operatives were called back by Fraser, who approved the Nasrec operation, the commission heard.

The special ops agents, the commission heard, were doing rogue intelligence to serve former president Jacob Zuma and his political allies while it was weaponised against his political foes. Zuma at the time had thrown his weight behind his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to be elected ANC president.

“It would not be peculiar to have SSA members at such an event because we have special events that would be managed by SSA in a supporting role to a certain extent,” Ms K, a masked witness told deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

“But what stands out for me when we looked at this CDSO, [it] was purportedly closed in 2016 or early 2017 and most of the members of the unit had to go home and remained unplaced. Yet when it was time for Nasrec, they were called from home to partake in whatever this operation was for them to be present at Nasrec,” Ms K said.

She revealed on Friday that members of special operations were very involved in the affairs of the conference that elected Cyril Ramaphosa into the ANC top job.

Zondo quizzed Ms K as to whether the SSA also deployed spies to conferences of opposition parties in a “supporting role”, like they did at ANC events. She responded in the negative, saying the supporting role in the ANC conference was because there were a state president and government ministers in attendance.

“But there would also be a premier in a DA event,” said Zondo.

The testimony continues.

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