City Press reports today that 40 crime intelligence agents have been sent on a mission to Mangaung ahead of the ANC's elective conference next weekend. This looks to be an abuse of the state-funded unit in support of President Jacob Zuma's campaign for the ANC leadership.
The Crime Intelligence Unit's core mandate is to "contribute to the neutralising of crime by gathering, collating and analysing intelligence that leads to an actionable policing activity".
Unless the unit is expecting some major criminal activity to occur at Mangaung, the DA cannot fathom why there is a need to take 40 intelligence officers off their normal duties to a party political conference rather than focussing on the real crime challenges affecting South Africa.
The unit will not be there to ensure the safety of dignitaries - as this is taken care of by the police's VIP protection unit.
The fact that the Acting Head of Crime Intelligence, Major-General Chris Ngcobo is a known Zuma loyalist as is Colonel Nkosana Ximba, who will be heading up the operation, supports the premise that President Zuma is using his allies in the police service for political gain.
Reports already indicate that agents involved in the "mission" have been gathering data on delegates who voted against Zuma in the ANC's regional conferences.
We cannot see any legitimate reason for the deployment of 40 crime intelligence agents to Mangaung or indeed any legitimate reason for state intelligence personnel to spy on political rivals rather than on crime bosses.
I will be submitting parliamentary questions to determine:
• who ordered this mission;
• what was its purpose; and
• how much it will cost the public?
Government leaders cannot be allowed to deploy SAPS resources to fight their political battles.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police