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Zondo commission: Spies from another country stationed in Soweto for ANC Nasrec conference, says Dintwe

Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Setlhomamaru Dintwe gave evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Setlhomamaru Dintwe gave evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

Published May 13, 2021


Johannesburg - There were "spooks" from a foreign country stationed in Soweto to monitor and influence the ANC’s Nasrec conference while millions of rands were stolen from the State Security Agency (SSA) to fund a political campaign by some factions of the ANC.

These were allegations made by Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Setlhomamaru Dintwe who gave evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry in Joburg on Wednesday.

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Dintwe’s evidence was related to his oversight during the peak state capture years of former president Jacob Zuma era.

Dintwe implicated a former special adviser to Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, saying the man attempted to irregularly procure “signal grabbers” ahead of the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference.

These signal grabbers would be used by spies stationed in Soweto to intercept all electronic communications that would take place at the conference.

Dintwe said Mbalula’s advisor, Bo Mbindwane referred to these “spooks”, or spies as “backpackers”, and told him that the grabbers would cost about R210 million.

He said he was approached by Mbindwane so that he could influence a certain crime intelligence divisional head to sign off on the request to purchase the spying devices.

Dintwe said when he found out that the grabber was to be bought from a “shady” company, he told Mbindwane he would no longer be involved in the issue.

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The procurement was then halted by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), he said.

Dintwe said it was found that the company inflated its prices and there was information that the rest of the money would be used to “buy votes at Nasrec”.

“It sounded probable and that is why we intervened, because the grabber average price is R7m, but in this case they wanted R45m to buy one grabber,” said Dintwe.

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In his testimony, Dintwe told the commission that “lots and lots” of money left the SSA in suitcases and used to fund more than one faction of the ANC.

One of the transactions, Dintwe said, was equivalent to €200 000.

Dintwe told the commission that their findings show that the monies could have been used to fuel political tensions that could affect national security in an adverse manner.

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He said, in other jurisdictions, there were fears that these monies could be used to fund terrorism.

Dintwe said there was mass flouting of financial controls at the SSA.

He said that money would leave the SSA but there was no proper accountability on whether the money reached the people it was allocated to.

“So I take the money and I say that I am taking this money to Joseph.

“Joseph could be a source or he could have done certain work for us but all we have is a signature stating that ’I the undersigned confirm that I have received this particular money’.

“There is just a signature, no letterhead, no nothing and we are talking huge amounts of money,” Dintwe said.

Answering questions regarding the cadet programme at the SSA, Dintwe said nepotism was rife in the programme.

He told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that children, family members and girlfriends of political leaders and senior managers were recruited and given bursaries without any regard to following proper criteria.

He said this flouting of procedures also resulted in former state security minister Ronnie Kasrils disowning some 40 of the cadets after he went through a list and recognised the nepotism.

“I am informed reliably that the then minister of state security minister (Ronnie) Kasrils, actually disowned those students because he said that when he was going through the list he could identify that minister that, other minister that, other deputy minister that, other deputy director-general … so he disowned about 40 graduates,” Dintwe said.

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