Lunga Simelane
2 minute read
2 Aug 2022
5:15 am

Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse reported to Saps over ‘spy’ equipment

Lunga Simelane

City of Joburg's Mesuli Mlandu claims SSA evidence implicates Phalatse and Shadrack Sibiya.

Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse briefs media outside Hillbrow Police Station following sustained attempts by political parties and rogue City administrators to derail corruption-busting operations. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Despite the State Security Agency (SSA) clearing Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse and former group forensics and investigation services (GFIS) commissioner Shadrack Sibiya of being in possession of intelligence gathering equipment, allegations around the equipment will not go away.

Joburg’s executive head in the office of the city manager, Mesuli Mlandu, has turned to the SA Police Services (Saps) claiming “evidence” from the SSA itself implicated the two.

Sibiya, who now serves at the Saps headquarters in Tshwane, was accused of misappropriation of funds spent on unvetted counter-intelligence equipment and also various acts of fraud and corruption while in the GFIS office.

In April the SSA was requested to investigate the procurement of alleged intelligence gathering equipment by the GFIS and any possible violation of the SSA mandate.

SSA director-general Thembisile Majola confirmed the technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) equipment used for identification of eavesdropping was not intelligence gathering equipment but also said there was other equipment found in the City of Joburg’s war room.

ALSO READ: Phalatse denies claims City of Joburg uses ‘spy’ equipment

Majola said there was “digital forensic equipment” which was the science of acquiring, presenting, retrieving data processed electronically and stored on computer media.

She said it was governed by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 and did not fall within the domain of the intelligence service laws.

“It is utilised during criminal investigations.”

Mlandu said: “The SSA has made it clear the equipment is for criminal intelligence. I have subsequently filed a complaint with the minister of police, to indicate how the situation should be handled and proceeded since is now an employee of the Saps.”

However, Majola said “the SSA would like to conclude there was no contravention of its governing legislation as alleged”.

Mlandu further sought action against Phalatse, who he claimed exerted undue pressure on the investigation and issued threats to state witnesses.

Phalatse’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe said the mayor had “played open cards throughout this manufactured saga by political parties and rogue officials”.

“It was the mayor who approached the SSA to investigate, and close the book on this matter,” Seabe said.

He noted with the SSA clearing the City, the Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS), Council and the Executive, it made no sense to lay charges.

“The Joburg Multi-Party Government will not be distracted by the attempted collapse of GFIS, but we will remain vigilant,” Seabe said.

“The Executive Mayor is focused on ensuring that the 2022/23 R77,3-billion budget goes to the repair and rebuild of Joburg.”

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