SARS spies, damned spies and more lies

SARS spies, damned spies and more lies

A Byzantine history of internecine strife in the national security system. By Martin Welz, with contributions by the Noseweek investigative unit.

Given all the secret deals and factional spying that has most South African public structures and institutions in ruin, it came as not much of a surprise when, in August last year, the Sunday Times claimed to have discovered an illegal, “rogue” spy unit operating out of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Even if they did get most of the story wrong and end up targeting the wrong person, the real irony is that they, themselves, appear to have been played in the spy-versus-spy game.

Since the ANC’s earliest days in power, it has been party policy to deploy its loyal cadres to positions of power and influence – not only to do the job and enjoy the financial rewards but, primarily, to advance ANC interests. Why would the management of SARS be an exception? Had we all forgotten about the "Vula boys"?

So, before we set about spelling out (more of) what the Sunday Times got wrong, what spying was taking place at SARS? That's the bit that the Sunday Times missed entirely.

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Illegal Telephone Tapping
South African
Sunday Times
Intelligence Agents
Revenue Service
Mandisa Mokwena
Anti-corruption Unit
Michael Peega
Cadre Deployment
National Research Group
Rogue Unit
Van Loggerenberg
Belinda Walter
Julius Malema
State capture
"Skollie" Janse van Rensburg
illegal interception
South Africa
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