South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) has become a cash cow for some members of the ruling African National Congress, with millions of looted funds allegedly dispersed to party members – including former president Jacob Zuma, APA learnt on Thursday.South Africa’s Inspector-General of Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Dintwe said this when he testified before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg.
Dintwe said this to give credence to the testimony of previous witnesses as to the flouting of financial controls at the SSA during the period in question when Zuma was in power.
Echoing evidence from earlier witnesses regarding the role of the governing party in the SSA’s affairs, he said that Zuma was allegedly paid millions of agency funds that were reportedly taken to him by former Intelligence Minister David Mahlobo.
Zuma, in his previous testimony at the hearings which he has since boycotted, denied any wrong doing as spelled out by at least 35 witnesses.
“We are talking about huge amounts of money that were given to ANC members. One of the transactions that I saw was equivalent to 200,000 euros or (R2.7 million) that was taken by a member of the ANC,” Dintwe said, without revealing the party member’s name.
The Inspector General alleged that all ANC’s factions benefitted from agency funds, charging that huge amounts of money were allegedly looted from the SSA with impunity.
“Our findings are that these funds were used for other things that, in fact, could affect our national security adversely. For example, some of that money could be used to fuel political tensions,” he said.
He added: “There is evidence in our possession that some of those monies were used to finance a particular faction within the governing party. And in other jurisdictions, you find that these monies could also be used to fund terrorism.”
According to Dintwe, apart from the alleged abuse of funds by the ANC, nepotism was also rife at the SSA, with party leaders and the agency’s own senior managers submitting names of relatives or friends to be recruited as SSA cadets for employment into the agency.
Dintwe said children and family members of political leaders and senior managers were recruited and given bursaries, with some ultimately employed by the SSA without regard to any criteria or prior qualifications.
“It (nepotism) is a frequent practice, Chairperson (Raymond Zondo). I was given a list of about 40 cadets who had been lined up for training and recruitment.
“But I was informed reliably that the then State Security Minister (Ronnie) Kasrils actually disowned the students on the list because he said that when he was going through the list, he could identify ANC ministers’ relatives and that of the SSA’s Deputy Director-General. So Kasrils disowned the 40 graduates,” Dintwe testified.
The hearings, now in their third year, continue.