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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

SSA nepotism and graft bombshells dropped at Zondo hearing

Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe said nepotism and corruption were dominant in recruitment and employment.

Making startling revelations on the workings of the State Security Agency (SSA), inspector-general of intelligence Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe painted a grim picture at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Wednesday.

Dintwe outlined how the agency became a cash cow for operatives, which he said resembled an employment agency for the politically connected.

ALSO READ: WATCH LIVE: Zondo Commission hears more SSA related evidence

In his testimony before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Dintwe lifted the lid on how:

  • Intelligence Minister Ayanda Dlodlo irregularly approved the appointment of 26 officials to management positions, despite acting director-general Loyiso Jafta’s refusal.
  • Operatives siphoned millions from the police crime intelligence (CI) budget through the non-existent procurement of IT and surveillance equipment.
  • Intelligence operatives diverted money meant for intelligence gathering and state security to fund ANC factions in buying votes at the party’s watershed 2017 Nasrec national conference.
  • An operative claimed €200,000 (about R3.4 million) to pay “a source” without signature or receipt produced.
  • Money was stolen through fictitious claims by officials.

‘Executive overreach’

In what he described as executive overreach in the irregular promotion of 26 officials by Dlodlo, Dintwe told Zondo that Jafta’s recommendations were ignored.

“In SSA is where you see executive overreach. In the case of the appointment of the 26 managers, a block motivation submission was written, with no posts advertised, selection panel in place or interviews conducted – something not meeting requirements,” Dintwe said.

“The 26 constituted irregular promotions in SSA, with the minister having approved the appointments despite a refusal by the acting DG in a deviation called emergency recruitment.

“The majority of those appointed were connected to the previous management headed by Arthur Fraser – people implicated in the Principal Agent Network1 (PAN1) report by the then inspector-general of intelligence, Faith Radebe.”

Jobs for pals and family

Dintwe said nepotism and corruption were dominant in recruitment and employment.

“It is a generally accepted practice that sometimes they could identify operatives at an early stage at school and university to offer bursaries for cadet training, without explaining the criteria. SSA has been turned into an employment agency for the politically connected.

“The problem is that more often we found that there would be family relations with people like ministers – nepotism.

“Those recruited included family members of senior politicians, which is a problem because they become beholden to the appointing authority.”

With family members and girlfriends appointed to sensitive CI positions, Dintwe said the Free State displayed high levels of nepotism.

“I am still shocked after a visit to the crime intelligence office in the Free State where we found those appointed were related to station commanders, brigadiers and captains – girlfriends and relatives owing allegiance to the provincial head.

“Due to loyalty, if they find information on cash-in-transit heists, they would not give that to the head of counter intelligence, but to the head of surveillance who employed them, so that he appears successful in his job.”