South Africa

PUBLIC PROTECTOR IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

EFF’s Floyd Shivambu gave Mkhwebane classified SARS ‘rogue unit’ report, hearing told

EFF’s Floyd Shivambu gave Mkhwebane classified SARS ‘rogue unit’ report, hearing told
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu. (Photos: Leila Dougan)

The nexus between suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and opposition party the EFF in directing the SARS ‘rogue unit’ investigation, weaponised to target Pravin Gordhan, was more vividly revealed at the Section 194 inquiry on Thursday.

While Busisiwe Mkhwebane has always maintained that the classified 2014 document by former Inspector-General of Intelligence Faith Radebe — on which the suspended Public Protector based her SARS “rogue unit” report — had been mysteriously dropped off in the foyer of her offices, it was the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu who had attached it to an email complaint to the PP.

The committee for the Section 194 inquiry heard on Thursday, 25 August that Shivambu had in fact been the complainant in the matter all along and had illegally been in possession of the classified report.

Former executive manager for investigations at the Public Protector’s office Ponatshego Mogaladi said she had been concerned that Shivambu might not have top secret security clearance and should not have been in possession of the document. The EFF leader had emailed and WhatsApped Radebe’s report to her.

In January 2019, Mkhwebane had popped into the offices of then Inspector-General of Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Dintwe, desperate to get her hands on a “legal” copy of the classified Rabebe report that she used as the basis for her now notorious and discredited report into the SARS “rogue unit”.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s big fat fishing expedition for Radebe Report

Endgame: Classified IGI report on SARS — new investigation into rogue SSA agents promised

 

In a recording leaked to the media, Mkhwebane can be heard saying, “I was surprised, whoever had it should not have it, it is classified. But unfortunately I have seen the report on Noseweek.

With news that Mkhwebane had the classified report all along, it is also clear she failed to provide implicated parties with this and also left it out of her Rule 53 court record.

It is also now clear from evidence to the inquiry that the report had not been dropped off mysteriously in the foyer of the Public Protector’s offices in Pretoria.

All of this, too, was withheld in Mhhwebane’s final report.

On top of that, none of Mkhwebane, the EFF or Shivambu disclosed this to the Pretoria High Court when then Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo, brought an interlocutory application seeking to interdict the dissemination of the 2014 report.

Mkhwebane opposed Dlodlo’s application, saying the IGI report was “a central part of her ongoing investigations and findings”.

In July 2019, Pretoria High Court Judge Sulet Potterill suspended Mkhwebane’s remedial action against Gordhan. A month later, in August 2019, Mkhwebane withdrew her Constitutional Court application for leave to appeal against that ruling.

‘It was Floyd Shivambu’

On Thursday it was committee member Mimi Gondwe who asked Mogaladi who the original “anonymous” complainant had been in the SARS “Rogue Unit” matter.

“It was Floyd Shivambu,” she replied.

Shivambu is a Member of Parliament who swore to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution.

A recap of Mkhwebane’s modus operandi in attempting to strong-arm Dintwe into releasing the classified Radebe report is worth revisiting.

Radebe had been instructed in 2014 by Jacob Zuma ally, then minister of state security David Mahlobo, to investigate media reports that several state security operatives were embedded in SARS and had launched an attack on the institution in an attempt to undermine it.

2014 Radebe report into ‘rogue unit’ based on discredited witnesses, sheds light on genesis of attack on SARS

One of Radebe’s key witnesses in 2014 was Zuma’s personal spy, Thulani Dlomo, found by the High-Level Panel Review into the State Security Agency, as well as by the Zondo Commission, to have run an illegal parallel intelligence structure in the service of Zuma.

Like the Public Protector, the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence is a Chapter 9 institution with wide powers of oversight over the country’s intelligence agencies. It does not, however, have any mandate or oversight of SARS.

At the start of the meeting in January 2019, Mkhwebane, who we now know ran a tight, mean ship, set out some parameters, reminding those present that “an organ of state or person must assist the Public Protector”.

“In this instance we have this complaint against Minster Gordhan relating to the operations of that SARS alleged rogue unit,” Mkhwebane told Dintwe and his officials.

The Public Protector then said that she “received information” that the report “made several recommendations” and was keen to get her hands on these.

When Dintwe pushed back, reminding Mkhwebane that the minister of state security was the custodian of Radebe’s report, the PP responded: “Now the organ of state [she meant the inspector-general] that is supposed to help me is saying I must write to the minister? I would have expected that you would have requested that report, and that you would have done so on our behalf.”

Zondo Commission

When Dintwe informed her that his office had been asked to assist the Zondo Commission, still unfolding at the time, Mkhwebane replied “one thing you need to know, your Zondo or whoever, they are not constitutional bodies. This is a constitutional institution, the Constitution is supreme”.

Mkhwebane left, telling Dintwe and his officials that she expected them both to “request the report from the minister on our behalf”, adding that “the institutions that are supposed to be helping us now, you say you are constrained by the provisions of the law?”

Later, committee member Boyce Maneli asked Mogaladi to confirm that Shivambu had been the complainant.

“Yes, I say that.”

Mogaladi said she had not read the report when she realised it was highly classified and agreed with Maneli that unauthorised dissemination of the report would constitute a criminal offence. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Coenie Harley says:

    Amazing how frequent the phrase ….”who swore to upheld the constitution….” lately appears in media reports. I wonder if those who swore or affirmed to upheld the constitution understand the seriousness of non compliance. That lead to one very puzzling question: Who in their right mind can even consider voting for a bunch of liars?

    • Alley Cat says:

      For sure they know the seriousness of non-compliance Coenie, BUT they also know that there are no consequences for non-compliance. THAT is the problem in our country!

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      The seriousness of non compliance doesn’t bother these people, and more often than not, nor does justice prevail when they commit criminal acts of non compliance.

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    If whoever supplied the illegal spy tapes, used to get jz off the hook, has not been charged, why is anyone surprised that fs (and many other mp’s) will never be held liable for flouting their oath of office and/or committing crime after crime? The anc looks after their deployees and other stooges, no matter the cost to the country and its people.

  • Manfred Hasewinkel says:

    Mkhwebane certainly lies a lot. When will she be challenged in the 168 inquiry? It comes across a bit strong when Mpofu labels just about every witness as a liar. Exemplary bullies like Mpofu & his client seem to think that they become credible if the repeat themselves often enough.

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