22 March 2019

South Africa: Criminal Case Against Zuma-Linked Ex-Spy Still 'Pending' - Shabangu

Almost seven years after a forensic report implicated one of former president Jacob Zuma's right-hand men in alleged corruption, his criminal case is still "pending".

This is according to Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, who responded to a parliamentary question from Cope MP Deidre Carter. The MP had asked about the status of action taken against Thulani "Silence" Dlomo.

Shabangu also confirmed that former minister of state security, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has yet to respond to calls to implement actions recommended in the forensic audit report.

The forensic audit was conducted by provincial treasury on behalf of the Department of Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tender allegations

Completed in October 2012, it implicated Dlomo in alleged tender corruption that occurred before his move to the State Security Agency (SSA) in that same year.

Shabangu noted in her response that current Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, in his official capacity as then Minister of State Security, was in 2012 "officially informed about the outcome of the investigation and accordingly advised to implement the necessary action". She continued that "to date, the MEC for Finance or Social Development had not received any response from the minister".

Thulani Dlomo arrived at the SSA in 2012 to head up what was called the Special Operations Unit (SOU). Prior to his arrival at the SSA's head office in Pretoria, Dlomo was employed as head of security for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development.

News24 previously reported that Dlomo resigned from his position in KwaZulu-Natal after the forensic audit found that he had received kickbacks of R1m for tenders worth R45m.

By the time the forensic report was completed in October 2012, Dlomo had already moved on to his new position with intelligence and state security services in Pretoria. According to Shabangu, "the recommendation by provincial treasury was that the allegations and findings be forwarded to [the] National Intelligence Agency for their consideration and action".

Mufumadi report

Dlomo was recently deeply implicated in wrongdoing in the Mufamadi high-level panel report, commissioned by President Cyril Ramaphosa to look into the state of South Africa's intelligence and security services.

The Mufamadi report found, according to News24, that the SSA Special Operations, under Dlomo, had "...largely become a parallel intelligence structure serving a faction of the ruling party and, in particular, the personal political interests of the sitting president of the party and country".

After his appointment at the SSA in 2012, City Press reported that Dlomo had upset several of his colleagues at the SSA after he allegedly stated that he "only reported to Zuma".

News24 previously reported that the Mufamadi report also recommended that operations undertaken by the SSA's Special Operations arm under Dlomo, including spying on unions and civil society organisations, the creation of a fake union in Marikana, influencing the media and conducting politically motivated projects, are to be investigated by a multi-disciplinary task team with an eye on criminal prosecutions.

The same report also found that "in the period being reviewed by the panel, the (former) president and minister have played key parts in deploying 'their people' into the SSA. This makes the appointees beholden to the appointers and this is particularly damaging when the intelligence service is as politicised as the SSA has become".

It further recommended criminal prosecution for Zuma, Cwele, David Mahlobo and SSA staffers for the blatant disregard of legislation that governs the operation of intelligence agencies and the Constitution.

While the Mufamadi report does not explicitly name Zuma, Cwele, Mahlobo or Dlomo, it mentions the positions held by the men and by cross-referencing the timing of events, News24 was able to verify the identity of the individuals mentioned.

Registered case

Referring to criminal action taken against Dlomo regarding the alleged tender corruption, Shabangu confirmed that a case was "registered against Mr Dlomo under Umbilo, case number 217/09/2010" and that "the investigating officer is on record as being Captain Themba Sibiya".

Shabangu further noted that provincial treasury contacted Sibiya who informed them that "the case was still pending".

Captain Sibiya has, according to Shabangu, agreed to give a written response to provincial treasury as to the reason why the case is still pending. But "it has not been received yet".

Dlomo, who was the country's ambassador to Japan, was recalled in January.

Source: News24

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