NEWS
18/06/2018 04:30 SAST

State Security Agency Probe: This Is The Dirt Ramaphosa's Investigators Will Be Digging For

Mismanagement at the top levels of the SSA is said to be one of the main priorities, with a further focus on allegations of money disappearing through the cracks.

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
AFP/Getty Images
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's crack team of experts and intelligence veterans, which he has tasked with investigating issues at the State Security Agency (SSA), are already in the process of formulating a plan of action.

The high-level panel met for the first time on Thursday last week and sat down to discuss the way forward, highlighting problems at the embattled intelligence agency that require the highest priority.

A source close to the proceedings said members were nominated, vetting processes were conducted and Ramaphosa then put the team together.

News24 reported last week that former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi will lead the investigative team, which is made up of experts in the intelligence sector such as former spy boss Barry Gilder, Jane Duncan, Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, Murray Michell, Basetsana Molebatsi, Siphokazi Magadla, Andre Pruis and Silumko Sokupa.

The source said the team's first decision after meeting one another was to have a sit-down, without government officials present, to discuss a plan of action.

Mismanagement at the top levels of the SSA is said to be one of the main priorities, with a further focus on allegations of money disappearing through the cracks. The team will also prioritise the mandate of the agency and its structure to determine whether it is currently fit for purpose.

Mismanagement at the top levels of the SSA is said to be one of the main priorities, with a further focus on allegations of money disappearing through the cracks.

According to the source, the team may also broaden its scope into the professionalism of the agents who work at the SSA and the type of training they receive.

The appointment of the team comes two months after Ramaphosa gave SSA director-general Arthur Fraser the boot, moving him over to the department of correctional services.

The transfer came after inspector-general of intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe accused Fraser of undermining investigations into him [Fraser] by interfering with Dintwe's functions and revoking his security clearance. Dintwe, in court papers, said Fraser threatened and intimidated him repeatedly.

The murkiness of South Africa's intelligence came to the fore last year after Jacques Pauw published his book, "The President's Keepers".

It detailed how a top-secret state intelligence programme had allegedly guzzled as much as R1-billion of taxpayers' money in just three years. It also alleged that intelligence operatives were used originally to get Jacob Zuma off the hook on 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering.