01/12/2017 11:02 SAST | Updated 01/12/2017 11:02 SAST

Senior Crime Intelligence Staff Without Top Secret Clearance

Crime intelligence officers need the clearance to be allowed to view top-secret documents containing highly sensitive information.

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Twenty-two of the most senior crime officers, in charge of counter- and security intelligence and national security, do not have valid security-clearance certificates.

The officers are in the top positions at crime intelligence and include:

• The head of the secret service account;

• The head of covert intelligence collection;

• The KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, North West and Northern Cape provincial heads;

• The section heads in charge of national security, narcotics, finance, covert collection, Interpol and;

• The section head in charge of internal audit, evaluation and monitoring.

Crime intelligence officers need the clearance to be allowed to view top-secret documents containing highly sensitive information.

The list of officers was provided to the director general of the State Security Agency (SSA) by then-acting national commissioner Lesetja Mothiba.

It was attached to a letter written in July this year entitled "Crime Intelligence: Senior Management Service Members: security clearance".

The letter, seen by News24, refers to an earlier discussion that took place between the acting police commissioner, the acting divisional commissioner of crime intelligence and the Minister of State Security.

It said the list attached comprised all the senior managers at the rank of major-general and brigadier within crime intelligence, both nationally and provincially, who did not have valid security clearance.

Mothiba asks that the SSA facilitate the vetting process.

'In progress'

In a separate document, seen by News24, the status of the security clearance process is listed for all the major-generals and brigadiers. Fifteen of the officers are listed as having their clearance "in progress", but the status of six of them is under investigation.

Four were listed as being at the polygraph stage, and another four were at the evaluation phase.

News24 understands this to mean that all the phases, including the last one –– the polygraph test –– have been completed, and the documents are being evaluated before the certificate can be issued.

Previous crime intelligence commissioner, Major-General Pat Mokushane, is listed as being at the evaluation phase in the process, as well as a major-general and a brigadier from crime intelligence's head office.

Mokushane was fired from his position in August for not having a valid clearance certificate.

However, these documents indicate that there is a general backlog in the issuing of the certificates, and that Mokushane's was not an isolated incident.

City Press reported that Mokushane and two of his colleagues were allegedly in possession of fraudulent top-secret security-clearance certificates.

This was according to Major-General Dumezweni Zimu, the head of counter- and security intelligence, who wrote a letter to Mokushane and Mothiba raising the issue of Mokushane's clearance.

Mothiba had told Parliament that employing Mokushane without the proper paperwork in place had been an "oversight".

According to Zimu, Mokushane still had to submit documentation to the vetting team to get his clearance: including his matric certificate, tertiary qualifications, registration documents for his three companies, declaration of interests, financial disclosures, credit card details, property ownership records, hire-purchase agreements and bank statements.

'Harrowing reflection of systemic failure'

However, the documents News24 has seen indicate that Zimu himself does not have top-secret clearance.

Zimu and another two members from head office are listed as having their top-secret clearance expired.

The document says they must reapply. Another three officers were listed as having had no previous application.

Zimu's clearance was listed as being more than three years expired; it was last valid in February 2014, according to the document.

Earlier this month, the DA released a statement saying that in a presentation delivered before Parliament's police portfolio committee, it was revealed that almost three-quarters of rank and file crime intelligence division employees did not have security clearance.

According to the DA statement, some of the findings showed that:

- Three SAPS generals were denied security clearance, and that of a further 12 had expired;

- 125 SAPS generals and brigadiers failed to apply for security clearance;

- The clearance of more than 1,300 crime intelligence employees had expired, while a further 85 were denied security clearance;

- 6,130 crime intelligence members have no clearance at all.

"This provides a harrowing reflection of the systemic failure in leadership of the police and CI in the country. It speaks to the deep divisions within the R3.54-billion CI division," said the DA's Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Police had not yet responded to News24's queries, but it is believed that the issue of clearance certificates will be discussed at Parliament's police portfolio committee later on Friday.