Former spy boss Billy Masetlha was very happy and relieved yesterday after Hatfield Community Court Magistrate Dreyer van der Merwe acquitted him of the charges of contravening the Intelligence Service Oversight Act for allegedly withholding information from Inspector General of Intelligence Zolile Ngcakani.
Below is the telephonic interview between Sowetan reporter Sipho Masombuka (SM) and Billy Masetlha (BM).
SM: What is your personal and family's reaction to the acquittal?
BM: This has had a big impact on my family. I am now at my mother's house. I have to explain to her what has happened and that this part of the burden is over. The truth is I am not angry. I am very hurt, painfully so by the fact that I have been set up by people I would have regarded as comrades.
I feel a great sense of betrayal. That is the hurt I have and the pain that I had to go through. I had to go through this pain with her (mother). I must heal it and I do not want her to die because of the persecution I am going through at the hands of people I regarded as my comrades, when they actually knew that there was no charge.
SM: Now that you have been acquitted, do you want your job back or do you think that you deserve your job back?
BM: I have never asked for my job back, ever. I went through the constitutional court and I made it clear that whatever happens I do not want my job back because I cannot work with people who are dishonest. I can't.
I cannot work with, or under, people who are so dishonest to the extent that they actually have framed up charges against me on things that they know themselves are not true. They are unable to admit that they had the papers because they know that for the last two years they had all these documents and they refused me access.
What happens? They lie to the courts and therefore in real legal terms, they have committed perjury. If it was real justice they would have been charged for that. I do not have money, strength and energy anymore to pursue this nonsense.
A person comes to court and charges you for stealing his money when he knows that his money is in the wardrobe. Why do they want me to be set up - I do not want to be a president or a minister.
I have not asked for my job back. Do I want my job? It is not my job? I was deployed by the ANC. I do not want it. Let's assume I am offered my job back now. How do you expect my reception is going to be, including my treatment? They would get very hostile, they would be sabotaging me and making sure I fail.
Not only just fail but this time they will set you up to be able to criminally convict you. Why are we abusing state resources like this? I still have one or two other things to deal with. I will never ask for my job back.
I will not go back to work for the state at the moment until things change fundamentally for the better where there is actually a rule of law that is respected. There is some justice, there is some fairness and not private agendas that are concocted by people who want leadership and want to ensure that they stay in power.
SM: Do you think that you won't be found guilty on the pending charge of fraud?
BM: What fraud have I committed?
SM: But there is a charge of fraud pending against you, Mr Masetlha
BM: They have charged me for fraud that I have never committed.
I am basically being put in the same situation I had been put now where I (had to) defend a charge that does not exist.