Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

‘Don’t blame me for other departments’ failures’, says Dlodlo on July riots

Former State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says intelligence reports regarding the July 2021 unrest were freely available.

Former State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says intelligence reports regarding the July 2021 violent unrest were available and sent out to the relevant structures.

In September last year, Dlodlo insisted during an interview on eNCA that she carried out her duties prior to and amid the violent unrest.

The minister argued at the time that there was never an intelligence failure, saying that she believed that she did her part.

‘I can’t be held accountable’

Making an opening statement before her testimony at the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC‘s) investigative hearings into the July riots on Tuesday, Dlodlo maintained her stance.

“I must [indicate] that at some point former Minister of Defence, [Nosiviwe] Mapisa-Nqakula also spoke to the fact that she does understand and accept that intelligence was given to structures, as I have said from the beginning.

“This intelligence was operational and tactical that was not of a strategic nature to be shared with my colleagues. But I must point out that if my colleagues did not get intelligence updates from their departments, I can’t be held accountable and responsible for something that should have happened,” the current Public Service and Administration  Minister said.

Dlodlo said that the State Security Agency (SSA) issued an intelligence report and several alerts warning of the violence that took place in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng prior to the unrest.

ALSO READ: Cele says SSA ‘failed’ to verify information on July riots instigators

“These intelligence briefings and alerts were provided to the South African Police Services [Saps] before and during the unrest, but I must clarify that [this intelligence] were not only sent to [Saps] … All of this information was given to the NatJOINTS [National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure] that is co-chaired by [Saps], [SSA] and also the Department of Defence and Military Veterans,” she said.

Her statements come a day after Police Minister Bheki Cele testified before the SAHRC.

During the proceedings, Cele indicated that there were signs of unrest before the imprisonment of Zuma, and also maintained that he, personally, never received any intelligence reports on the unrest.

The minister said on Monday that he only received the intelligence report warning of possible violence on 3 December 2021, when he first appeared before the SAHRC.

Cele suggested that a deliberate decision was taken not to brief him on intelligence reports.

He previously criticised national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Saps’ Crime Intelligence division for failing to provide him with intelligence reports on the July riots.

July riots report

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the release of the report into the July riots.

In the 154-page report, a panel of experts, chaired by professor Sandy Africa, criticised the government’s response to the riots.

According to the report, Dlodlo asked the SSA’s top brass to look into rising tensions following the ConCourt’s ruling on Zuma.

The report also indicated that the SSA on two occasions issued a series of reports warning about the potential unrest.

READ MORE: ‘I went to speak with the old man’: Cele says there were signs of unrest before Zuma’s arrest

“Within the Saps chain of command, there appears to have been no direct line of submitting intelligence reports to the minister of police.

“The minister said he had not received any intelligence report from either the national commissioner of the Saps or the divisional commissioner: crime intelligence, from at least December 2020,” the reports reads.

The Citizen previously reported that the crime intelligence division had sent out a number of “early warning” reports via email – between 9 July and 12 July – regarding the possibility of violence.

The email was then copied to Sitole, the Hawks and the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC), among other police divisions, by a warrant officer who authored the email.