Evidence provided by a State Security Agency official, from an investigation into industrial-scale looting of the agency, sketched how former president Jacob Zuma and his allies set about creating a shadow state even before 2009, when he took office.
From at least 2008, "Zuma's spy", Thulani Dlomo, had floated the idea of an exclusive Presidential Security Support Service dedicated solely to intelligence collection "to protect President Jacob Zuma when he came to power", the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard on Wednesday.
Shortly after taking his oath of office, Zuma signed a proclamation that bypassed Parliament and collapsed five of South Africa's agencies into the single State Security Agency (SSA).
The door was thus kicked open for the creation of an unlawful, parallel, secret security state, funded by public money, much of which remains unaccounted for, and which served Zuma's personal and political interests for more than a decade.
The abuse occurred uninterrupted during the tenure of three ministers of state security, Siyabonga Cwele, David Mahlobo and Bongani Bongo, and was implemented by Maruti Nosi, Arthur Fraser and Thulani Dlomo.
The commission heard testimony from Ms K (identity protected) that while still in the employ of the KwaZulu-Natal...