Zuma: the tipping point.
Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers and Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit’s Enemy of the People – have had media and citizens riveted for weeks. Deservedly so.
Much of what they contain is not news; they have simply loaded the scale to tipping point with an agglomeration of stories, contextualised and catalogued in shocking detail, one event after another. They each provide a perfect demonstration of what a book – or a long-form magazine such as Noseweek – can achieve, that, with rare exception, other media cannot.
The addictive rush of social and other online media offers you your daily/hourly dose of shock-horror – which is quickly forgotten or obliterated by the irresistible drive to imbibe the next quick dose.
Noseweek readers will have found themselves familiar with many of the subjects tackled in these two important books. Some examples:
In March 2012 Noseweek began a series of reports exposing the campaign by corrupt Zuma cadres to close down the KZN unit of the Hawks and get rid of its head, Gen. Johan Booysen. At the time, most media stayed away from this politically dangerous subject.
From March 2015 we followed the unraveling of the criminal political machinations used to install and protect Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba as head of the NPA.
In August 2015 we ran two long articles exposing how the Sunday Times was manipulated by agents of the State Security Agency (SSA) to assist them in the criminal capture of SARS. The first was headlined “Sex, drugs, lies and blackmail”, the second headlined: “SARS spies, damned spies and more lies”. While Noseweek did not know about SARS’s plans to tax Zuma, and how those plans were thwarted, we did know that dishonest political agendas were being served.
But then we also knew that such things were not unheard of at SARS, even under Gordhan’s efficient rule. (He and his deputy, Pillay were, after all, themselves political deployees. They had seen fit to condone Brett Kebble, a major tax defaulter, being let off the hook with token taxation – as a reward for his support of the ANC. See nose63, December 2005.)
Mirroring a chapter in Pauw’s book, five and a half years ago (in nose150) Noseweek reported – quoting an official document classified ‘secret’ – how the Police Crime Intelligence Unit had been captured by criminals allied to the President. And that the Inspector General of Intelligence, too, had been ‘captured’ to provide the ultimate cover for the criminal subversion of legitimate intelligence gathering and law enforcement by Zuma and his allies.
Several paragraphs from that Noseweek report deserve repeating:
“The Crime Intelligence Division of the police performs a highly sophisticated function, collecting often sensitive information about high-level crime and criminals. But a secret report that has been buried in the files of the National Intelligence Service since November , shows that the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division is too busy defrauding and stealing from the public to be much bothered with other people’s criminal activities.
“The criminal network operating within the division is headed by no less than Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence Lieu-tenant General Richard Mdluli himself – and a mysterious, unnamed person, whom the author of the report dares refer to only as ‘the Prominent Individual in KwaZulu-Natal’.
“Mdluli was hand-picked by Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and a committee of ANC ministers. Normally heads of police divisions are selected by the Commissioner of Police, advised by senior policemen. Former Police Commissioner Tim Williams declared it a political hijacking.
“The damning report, dated 4 November 2011 and marked ‘secret’ on every one of its 13 pages, was written by the Head: Intelligence Analysis, Co-ordination and Surveillance, Major General Mark Hankel, and countersigned by the Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence, Major General C P Kock. “It was addressed to the Inspector General of Intelligence and the National Commissioner of Police.
“In July 2011 a case of corruption and fraud was registered by the Hawks at Silverton Police Station, as Silverton CAS 155/07/2011. The accused was Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, head of police Crime Intelligence.
“Informed sources have confirmed that, within three months, extensive evidence of corruption involving Mdluli, senior police officers and even journalists had been uncovered. However once the investigation began to look at renovations carried out at Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s home, and a Mercedes Benz ML350 bought by Mthethwa with secret police funds, it did not take too long for the Inspector General of Intelligence to become involved.
“Hankel was ordered to submit a report to the Inspector General of Intelligence, detailing exactly what it was that the probe had uncovered so far.
“In the concluding paragraphs of his report, Hankel found it necessary to state the following: ‘It is submitted that the Intelligence Services Oversight Act does not negate the statutory duty to report corruption to the police for purposes of criminal investigation.’
“Which suggests it had been proposed that the intelligence service take over the investigation to the exclusion of the police.
“Shortly afterwards Mthethwa ordered that all the investigation dockets be sent to the Inspector General of Intelligence. They were not seen again – and all charges were ‘provisionally’ withdrawn against Mdluli.
“The situation echoed that of the case registered at the Berea police station in Durban by DA MP Diane Kohler-Barnard against Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, after it emerged that Hulley had obtained recordings of telephone interceptions between senior prosecutors involved in the case against Zuma. [Now see The spy who got Zuma off the hook in this issue for the latest developments on that front.]
“Since this complaint made its way to the Inspector General of Intelligence there has only been one development: the Inspector General confirmed that the phone interceptions were legally undertaken. But Kohler-Barnard has never been told whether Hulley legally has possession of the tapes – a key part of her complaint.
“‘I suspect the Inspector General is a whole new way for those in power to defeat the ends of justice,’ she said.”
Noseweek’s report concluded with the following editorial comment:
“The extraordinary and damning report, exposed here, is an example of the sort that we may not in the future be able to publish, for fear of facing a stiff jail sentence – should the Protection of State Information Bill before Parliament become law.
“We publish it here not to be provocative, or to make sensational headlines, but because publication is so clearly and urgently in the public interest. When our police service is run by criminals, where are honest citizens to turn for protection against crime and corruption?”
Yes, Dear Reader, that appeared in Noseweek five years ago!
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