'There were no financial controls'

Zondo hears more of SSA's illicit flow of millions

Loyiso Jafta , the acting director-general of the State Security Agency giving testimony at the Zondo Commission.
Loyiso Jafta , the acting director-general of the State Security Agency giving testimony at the Zondo Commission.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

A top official of the State Security Agency has laid bare the rot, abuse of power and resources at the unit where employees walked away with millions of rand in hard cash for projects that had nothing to do with its mandate.

Loyiso Jafta, the director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA), yesterday made startling revelations before the commission of inquiry into state capture on how the agency was used to fight factional battles in the ANC and its resources pillaged.

His testimony had earlier been delayed by more than two hours after state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo brought an application to postpone his evidence, citing threats to national security.

However, commission chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo dismissed claims that there would be any national security problems flowing from Jafta’s testimony.

Jafta told the commission that when he arrived at the SSA he observed that there were projects designed to “enhance the political fortunes of the ANC” before elections.

“Often when you drill into it, it is not funding the ANC but it is to fund activities of a particular faction within the ANC. There would be monies disbursed for that purpose. There would be operations intended to drill into the credibility of those who were not in the faction,” he said.

Jafta, a veteran of intelligence services, also told the commission the agency used to fund a union that would weaken the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which appeared to be stronger than ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Amcu was a dominant force in the platinum belt in the North West just before the Marikana massacre in 2012, replacing NUM as majority union in most mines. 

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has previously claimed that there were orchestrated and funded plans to destroy the union, which has become a force to be reckoned with since the Marikana massacre.

Jafta also told the commission that there were no financial controls on how the money was spent in the SSA during former president Jacob Zuma’s administration. He told of how money would be allocated to fictitious projects using temporary advance instruments, where hard cash worth as much as R20m would be given to people without accountability.

After using the money, some of the SSA employees allegedly came and requested more, arguing the cash was not enough. They did not provide any detail of what they did with the previous amount.

Jafta’s explosive evidence came a day after former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi also made equally startling revelations about abuse of power and resources at the agency, including paying millions of rand for the upkeep of Zuma.

Mufamadi testified about the findings made by a high-level review panel which looked into the SSA. The panel was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018.

Jafta added that the agency was used for Zuma's own domestic issues. He said the alleged poisoning of the former president was investigated by SSA and at a certain stage, the agency had people guarding Nompumelelo Ntuli, his wife, who was suspected of being behind the poisoning.

“In essence… Mrs Zuma was in the custody of the SSA. She was in remand detention without having gone through due processes. I absolutely believe [she was kept against her will]. There is sufficient evidence that points at being disagreeable to the circumstances she found herself in,” Jafta said.

In 2015, MaNtuli was accused of being involved in a plot to poison Zuma and was subsequently banished from his Nkandla homestead. In 2019, the NPA announced that it would not be prosecuting anyone for these allegations due to lack of evidence.

UDM president Bantu Holomisa said they were aware that state intelligence was interfering in political matters to discredit other parties. Holomisa accused the governing party of using underhand apartheid spy tactics to deal with its political enemies.

“This is not new. We’ve heard about those but we’ve never had concrete proof. They used the same tactic as were used by the apartheid structures, the Neil Barnard’s intelligence to destroy their political opponents,” Holomisa said. - additional reporting by Isaac Mahlangu