Days of Zondo

SSA official tells State Capture Commission of millions paid to Mahlobo and MK Military Veterans Association

By Greg Nicolson 14 May 2021
Caption
Former State Security Minister David Mahlobo is seen in conversation with President Jacob Zuma at the final session of the ANC's National Policy Conference which was held at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg. Picture: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE

In explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission on Friday, a senior State Security Agency official has testified that she was involved in paying millions to former State Security Minister David Mahlobo and the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association.

Hundreds of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members gathered outside the ANC’s Luthuli House in September 2016 to confront ANC members protesting against former president Jacob Zuma’s leadership. The MK veterans outnumbered the smaller #OccupyLuthuliHouse group and aggressively confronted those calling on Zuma to resign.

The State Security Agency (SSA) allegedly paid R1,85-million in stipend, travel and accommodation costs for the MKMVA members to confront Zuma’s opponents at Luthuli House, according to an SSA member who testified anonymously at the State Capture Commission on Friday.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo continued to hear SSA-related evidence on Friday after the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, testified earlier in the week about operatives that withdrew large amounts of cash, under the guise of intelligence operations, which they stole or used to fund ANC factional battles.

“Dorothy”, a senior SSA official who testified anonymously on Friday, was questioned about the R28,5-million in cash she withdrew from the SSA for operations between 2014 and 2016.

She claimed that in 2016, former SSA special ops boss Thulani Dlomo instructed her to withdraw R1,85-million and work with the ANC’s head of security to fund the MKMVA’s presence at Luthuli House in September of that year.

Under its leader Kebby Maphatsoe, MKMVA was – and remains – a staunch Zuma defender.

Dlomo is alleged to have been one of the architects behind efforts to use the SSA to create a shadow intelligence agency, which facilitated widespread looting, to support Zuma.

Dorothy also claimed Dlomo instructed her to withdraw R1-million from the spy agency’s cash fund to pay MKMVA members to assist in identifying and reporting potential disruptive behaviour of attendees at the ANC’s January 8 statement rally in Rustenburg in 2016. She said she was personally involved in paying the MKMVA members’ stipends and expenses.

Zondo asked, “Why was it decided to use MK veterans to deal with the issues here, to identify and report on potential disruptive behaviour? Firstly, they wouldn’t be trained. Secondly, one would assume that the duty should rest upon trained persons, if anyone at all. As members of the SSA, why was this outsourced to MK veterans?”

Dorothy responded, “Mr Thulani Dlomo would be the better person to answer this question.”

Dorothy was due to visit Cape Town in February 2017 for the State of the Nation Address. She said then SSA director-general Arthur Fraser called her to say an operative would be in touch to give her a bag with R1,5-million in cash to deliver to the official residence of David Mahlobo, state security minister at the time.

Both Fraser and Dlomo are yet to appear at the commission and it’s unclear whether they are scheduled to give testimony before Zondo concludes public hearings. Both Fraser and Dlomo’s legal teams, however, have raised disputes regarding evidence implicating them.

She said she received the bag and delivered it to Mahlobo personally at his official Cape Town residence. Dorothy could not remember whether she checked if the bag did in fact contain R1.5-million in cash, but she assumed it did.

Mahlobo is alleged to have signed receipts for around R80-million in cash from the SSA between 2015 and 2017. He has denied he personally received payments or authorised projects.

During his testimony, Dintwe explained how SSA officials and agents often signed to withdraw large amounts of cash, which was then handed to other officials, with the original signee often having no idea whether the reason for taking the cash was justified nor knowing how it was used.

Dorothy admitted to approving cash payments to a more senior SSA member, who the commission is referring to as “Darryl”, for R13,5-million to pay expenses for Project Mayibuye between April and August 2016. Project Mayibuye was one of a number of allegedly fraudulent operations set up by the SSA to fund Zuma and his allies.

Dorothy signed for Darryl’s claims knowing only that the funds were for Project Mayibuye, without knowing how they were used.

“In the environment I worked in, we worked on a need-to-know basis. As long as there’s a submission approved for the project, I wouldn’t question what the money’s for because it wasn’t in my place to know that,” she said.

The commission has heard allegations that SSA funds meant to find their way to Zuma increased from R2,5-million in 2015/16 to R4,5-million in 2016/17. Dorothy suggested Mahlobo was being given R4,5-million a month towards the end of 2016.

She approved multiple requests for cash releases amounting to R4,51- million related to Project Mayibuye in the latter months of 2016.

“I had no knowledge as to where or who or what the money was meant for,” said Dorothy.

In December 2016, she said she took R4,51-million to Mahlobo’s official residence.

“This is one of the instances where I took the R4,51-million in cash to minister Mahlobo at his residence,” Dorothy testified.

She said Darryl had been appointed to a deputy director-general position at the SSA and “he informed me that I had to take over the role of taking the money because he’s been doing it prior to me”.

Dorothy said Mahlobo met her at his official residence and accepted the cash personally. They counted it in his office before putting it back in the bag.

Dorothy’s testimony continues. She is one of four SSA members scheduled to testify at the commission on Friday. Zondo has ordered that the identities of all four witnesses be withheld. DM

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All Comments 7

  • It was not only explosive, but riveting! Hell, despite not being able to see the witness, the testimony was from an whistle blower, called Dorothy. By far the most incredible evidence against Fraser and Mahlobo (still a dep. minister in cabinet). This is pure movie stuff. Thx “Dorothy”, I salute u.

  • The SSA must close doors with immediate effect. How can crooks like this be trusted with SA’s security? CR can include his explanation why he is still keeping these hooligans around in his weekly news letter. Come, mr president.

  • The extent of corruption within the ANC knows no bounds – South Africans are paying an enormous price to keep this kleptocracy in power.

  • If you follow the “yellow brick road” with “Dorothy” you will be reminded that all this” cash & carry” actually comes from the weary SA taxpayer who continues to be robbed and abused by this ANC government. When will this ever end? Not until the taxpayer says “No More”

  • It’s scary how Zuma, like a crooked dictator on his last months, used the SSA to prop up his presidency. And the sad part is that nothing will most likely ever come of this due to Cyril being so spineless with a game so long he’ll be dead before he can execute.

  • I think I should apply for a job at state security! Imagine being paid/given CASH…with no records kept! About as close to being in ‘heaven’ as one can get…while the rest of us are in that other place where we get slightly toasted/roasted to perfection! You don’t even need a pension…like I do!

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