South Africa’s new Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Sethlomamaru Dintwe has confirmed he was investigating who was behind an intelligence report used by President Jacob Zuma to summon former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his team from Treasury back home from an investor roadshow in London.
Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier on Monday confirmed he had received a letter from Dintwe saying: “I acknowledge receipt of your complaint dated 31 March 2017. You are advised that the matter is under investigation, and I will revert to you in due course.”
Maynier had written to Dintwe requesting a probe into the origins of the report, and whether “any element within the national intelligence structure played any role in the production, or the dissemination of the ‘intelligence report’, and if so, whether same amounted to a violation of the Constitution, any law, any regulation and/or any policy applicable tot he national intelligence structure in South Africa”.
Maynier’s letter to the IGI was sent just hours before Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet, sacking both Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.
Maynier said: “The request followed reports suggesting that Zuma acted on a bizarre ‘intelligence report’ claiming the former minister intended to use an international investor roadshow to mobilise people to overthrow the state, as a pretext to cancel the former minister’s roadshow and to request his immediate return to South Africa.
He added: “We welcome the investigation, because we need to get to the bottom of whether any element within the national intelligence structure played any role in the production or dissemination of the bizarre ‘intelligence report’, reportedly used as a pretext for the cabinet reshuffle, which pulled the plug on the economy and triggered ‘junk status’ in South Africa.”
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, who has been very vocal on this issue, said even though an investigation was under way, Minister of State Security David Mahlobo and senior officials in the department still had to explain themselves to Parliament.
“They didn’t have a leg to stand on… We are not interested in spinning,” he added.
Holomisa said he requested that the intelligence committee convene a meeting over a week ago, but he was yet to get a response.
Director of the Institute for Accountability Paul Hoffman said the so called-called intelligence report was “unintelligent” and perhaps had an ulterior motive.
“The person who wrote it was smoking his socks or he didn’t really understand how things work; or [he] was specifically mischievous in pursuit of an alternative agenda.”
Neither the committee chairperson nor the department could be reached for comment.
-Additional reporting by African News Agency