News / South Africa / Politics

Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
4 Oct 2019
2:28 pm

IGI to investigate Mkhwebane, Rampedi and more over ‘rogue unit’ narrative

Daniel Friedman

A report by the previous IGI, posted by the EFF on its website this week, is believed to have been part of a plot to discredit Sars.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Neil McCartney

Complaints laid by former South African Revenue Service (Sars) enforcement executive Johann van Loggerenberg in 2014 will finally be investigated by the inspector-general of intelligence (IGI), Setlhomamaru Dintwe.

Dintwe confirmed that Van Loggerenberg’s 34 complaints will form part of an investigation, which will look at those who are alleged to be behind a campaign to discredit Sars, through, among other means, the narrative that it ran a “rogue unit”.

Those under scrutiny include Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane; journalists Piet Rampedi and Mzilikazi wa Afrika, who published reports on the so-called “rogue unit” which were retracted and apologised for by the Sunday Times; and State Security Agency (SSA) operatives.

British American Tobacco (BAT) employees, former Sars officials, and crime intelligence officials are also going to be investigated for their alleged involvement in pushing the narrative.

This follows the Economic Freedom Fighters this week posting what the SSA confirmed is still a classified IGI report – from the late and controversial Faith Radebe’s term as IGI – on its website.

The Equality Court dismissed an application from Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to have the report struck from the EFF’s court papers in response to hate speech charges laid against the party by the minister.

READ MORE: ‘SA spooks’ lives in danger’ after EFF puts rogue unit report in public domain

Gordhan laid the charges after Julius Malema said he was racist, “corrupt”, and “a dog of white monopoly capital”.

Following the dismissal of the strikeout application, the party argued that this meant they could share the report, as it was now admissible to the court records and therefore in the public domain, but according to the SSA, it is still classified.

Gordhan wanted the report struck from the court records on the grounds that it was irrelevant to his hate speech case against the EFF, as well as because it was not clear whether it had indeed been declassified.

Regardless of whether or not the report was still classified, its contents are contentious, finding that the so-called “rogue unit” was illegal and recommending that Gordhan, as well as Van Loggerenberg and former deputy Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay to be investigated and possibly face criminal charges.

But as detailed in reports in both Daily Maverick and News24, the IGI report shared by the EFF is part of a narrative created as an attempt to undermine the work Sars was doing.

It was drafted by the late Faith Radebe, who is detailed in Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers as being loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, and was heavily criticised for giving those in various intelligence agencies free reign and failing to adhere to her responsibility to ensure these agencies didn’t abuse their power and violate the constitution.

It is also unclear where the EFF got the classified report.

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