News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
19 Apr 2018
2:02 pm

Intelligence watchdog’s bid to interdict former SSA head removed from court roll

Ilse de Lange

This usually means that a special date will have to be allocated for the application.

Former head of the State Security Agency (SSA), Arthur Fraser, seen in Pretoria in 2008. Picture: Gallo Images

A unusual legal battle between the intelligence inspector-general (IGI) and the head of the State Security Agency (SSA) was on Thursday quietly removed from the urgent roll in the High Court in Pretoria before it could be heard.

The application had been placed on the urgent roll before judge Cornelius van der Westhuizen, but was removed from the roll – with the parties directed to approach the deputy judge president – after counsel went to see the judge in chambers.

Although the legal teams for both sides were at court, none of them wanted to speak to the media.

ALSO READ: Former SSA spy boss in parliament as court bid against him is expected in Pretoria

Jac Marais, the attorney for the inspector-general, told reporters he could not say anything about the case at this stage.

Inspector-general Setlhomamaru Dintwe last week filed an urgent application to interdict former SSA director-general Arthur Fraser from interfering with his duties and to force him and the SSA to cooperate with any of the IGI’s investigations.

This was pending the outcome of further legal action aimed at ensuring the IGI’s independence and to remove any authority the SSA head might have over it.

Dintwe claimed in a lengthy affidavit Fraser had withdrawn his security clearance last month and intimidated him to stonewall an investigation into Fraser’s conduct flowing from a complaint by the Democratic Alliance.

The allegations included that Fraser had allegedly established an illegal rogue intelligence programme called the Principle Agent Network by allegedly copying the signature of the then Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils.

It was also alleged he had improperly influenced the awarding of contracts to his family members and other individuals through the network and that he allegedly created an alternative intelligence capacity, which constituted a criminal offence.

Dintwe said Fraser had withdrawn his security clearance, thereby effectively bringing the IGI’s investigations to a halt, alleging he had classified documents in his possession, but stressed that the very nature of his office included having access to classified documents.

Fraser was on Tuesday removed from his position at the request of President Cyril Ramaphosa and appointed as national commissioner of correctional services.

The DA, which has long been calling for Fraser’s suspension, has strenuously objected to Fraser being moved to another state department, saying it continued the trend under former resident Jacob Zuma, where corrupt officials escaped liability.

The SACP has also weighed in, condemning Fraser’s alleged abuse of power and attempt to frustrate Dintwe’s investigation as “an act of desperation and sabotage” and stressing the need for the IGI to complete his work without fear, favour or interference.

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