At the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture, Miss K said the rot at the State Security Agency (SSA) was so deep, some people working there were even suspected of robbing it of R17 million in cash.
K, who was part of an investigation into the nefarious activates at the State Security Agency, continued her damming testimony last Friday, where she further highlighted the scale of the abuse at the agency.
Earlier in the week, she brought to light the activities of Chief Directorate of Special Operations (CDSO), an organisation that was supposedly part of the SSA but had its own budget and operated without oversight.
On Friday she gave further details on the extent of the alleged wrongdoing at the agency that was supposed to keep the country safe from threats, both foreign and domestic.
K agreed with the statements deposed by Y in his affidavit that:
- The Chief Directorate for Internal Security (CDIS) incurred approximately R1.5 million per month for the years 2015/16 to 2016/17.
- The CDIS members were wittingly or unwittingly complicit in facilitating the abuse of SSA resources, enabling CDSO members to illegally access firearms and transport cash.
- CDIS members were implicated in the robbery of R17 million from a safe inside the SSA complex at Masanda in December 2015.
- The duplication of services led to a paralysis of the legitimate functionaries who were responsible for the security of the president, and a disabling of legitimate SSA resources.
- In regard to Khusela, one individual was withdrawing R1.8 million a month.
- The services were stopped when President Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed. This demonstrates that these services were established and operated for the sole protection of Zuma.
- The “operational activities undertaken exceeded the mandate of the SSA, at times constituted conduct that undermined the very core of the Constitution, and was manifestly unlawful and involved criminality”.
- “This politicisation of the CDSO can be traced back to the restructuring of the SSA’s counter-intelligence capacity which shifted focus and resources to countering perceived threats to the personal and political security of Zuma.”
- Without a balance between political authority and operational authority in the security services, there is a risk that the intelligence services will support “the narrow political interests of the political authority”.
Projects to influence, penetrate and neutralise any perceived threat
K also said the CDSO operated numerous projects without any oversight, which saw then-State Security Minister David Mahlobo getting unauthorised cash payments.
Mahlobo is currently Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation.
It was Mahlobo’s stint as State Security Minister (May 25, 2014 – October 17, 2017), K said CDSO tried to influence members of the judiciary and the media.
She confirmed that:
- Project Construção, Project Mayibuye and Project Wave were all authorised by the same individuals and were all approved on the same day, January 23, 2015. Some 20 CDSO projects were approved on that day.
- Project Mayibuye comprised several operations including Operation Commitment, Operation Justice/Simunye, Operation Lock and Operation.
- Proper financial controls were not implemented in relation to these projects, and just over R1 billion would have been spent on these various projects.
- Operation Commitment involved monthly withdrawals of cash by, Frank, Darryl and Dorothy (pseudonyms) and others, which were delivered to the then Mahlobo. It was alleged to the investigation team that these funds were intended for onward delivery by Mahlobo to Zuma.
- According to Lily (pseudonym) “…these monthly payments amounted to about R24 million in the 2015/2016 financial year and increased to R54.1 million in the 2016/2017 year.”
- Operation Justice concerned the alleged influencing, recruiting and handling of sources within the judiciary. CDSO contributed largely to the rise in confidence in the justice by the public through its influential role in the media reporting, and utilising well-placed media personnel.
- Operation Sesikhona aimed to ensure that the nature of protests do not undermine the integrity of the State, nor cause a negative impression to investors.
- Amounts of some R4.5 million were regularly delivered to Mahlobo, “who is reported to be the person directly making onward payments as part of Operation Justice”. …One of the implicated individuals confirmed that she had personally delivered R4.5 million to Minister Mahlobo’s office on at least three occasions.”
- Frank (pseudonym) confirmed to the investigation team that he was instructed to deliver money regularly to Mahlobo for Project Justice starting at R1.3million but extending upward to R21.8 million “to deal with the issue of judges.”
- Operation Lock involved the provision of a safe house and protection to Eugene de Kock, after he was released from prison.
- Project Hollywood was established on November 16, 2015 to commence in April 2016, with the objective of “conducting surveillance and monitoring, and involved the illegal interception of high profile politically prominent or connected individuals and government officials”. Monthly withdrawals of R800 000 cash were made to pay for the provision of “intelligence and security services, including the remuneration of operatives, surveillance, platform setting and encrypted communication hire”.
- Project Lungisa was established on December 29, 2015, with the objective to “neutralise and counter activities of individual’s intent on undermining the authorities. Monthly withdrawals of R500 000,00 cash were used to pay for the provision of “economic services, including data collection and analysis, the collection of financial statements from banks company and ownership analysis, the interviewing of assets and compiling of reports”.
- The key persons implicated in both Project Hollywood and Project Lungisa are Ambassador Dlomo as Deputy Director Counter Intelligence, Darrell, Lilly and Mandy (all pseudonyms).
- Project Crescella was a CDSO project run by Dr Mandisa Makwena, a non-SSA member. Its activities overlapped with those of the Toxicology Unit established in 2012 as part of the Directorate for Presidential Security Support. Monthly payments of R1.8 million were made for Project Crescella, as well as a payments totalling R9.5 million in regard to two invoices.
- “Project Tin Roof was establised in December 2014 at the instance of Mahlobo who had MaNthuli removed from Nkandla and given “protection and maintenance” by the SSA until the investigation was finalised.” Monthly withdrawals of approximately R800 000 were made under Project Tin Roof.
- R24 million was allocated to Project Wave in the 2015/16 financial year, and the same amount again in the 2016/17 financial year. An amount of R20 million was paid in respect of an invoice raised by Apricot, purportedly for services rendered.
Ms K has completed her testimony.