Rogue spies: we sounded the warning, says SACP
We told Zuma about our top officials being bugged by State Security, but nothing was done, says the party
The South African Communist Party has been concerted in its efforts to take on what it has described as a “parallel intelligence service” within the state – one that it firmly believes targeted its leadership.
An SACP leader says former president Jacob Zuma was warned as early as three years ago that State Security was embroiled in unlawful surveillance and bugging.
“All but one of our top officials were being listened to, and this was confirmed by experts,” SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila told Times Select.
“I raised these matters with the president about the party’s leaders being listened to. He said he was going to address it.”
Zuma’s spokesperson Vukile Mathabela told Times Select on Monday that Zuma would not comment on Mapaila’s allegations “as it would be premature to do so”.
“President Ramaphosa has instituted a review of the intelligence services and so it would not be appropriate for us to comment on these matters now,” he said.Mapaila claimed that at one stage he met a counter-intelligence official in a hotel in Durban, and accidentally walked into the wrong room and discovered “that there were people there with headphones, listening in on the conversation”.
“Basically, my complaint about being bugged was being bugged”.
According to Mapaila, the SACP’s concerns about state security only worsened as Zuma’s battle to remain in power intensified.
Mapaila was the first person to blow the whistle on Zuma’s use of a fake intelligence report to fire then Finance minister Pravin Gordhan for alleged “treason”.
But, in addition to Mapaila asking the inspector-general of intelligence (IGI) to probe the origin of that report, he and his party’s leadership repeatedly complained to the IGI about unlawful interception of their phones and surveillance of their homes.
Mapaila says this surveillance intensified as he and other members of the SACP became increasingly vocal inside the tripartite alliance about what he described as “the elephant in the room”: Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family.
“When we raised this issue, people were creating the impression that we were being anti-president. But we were not,” Mapaila told Times Select. “And it was during this time that I got intensified threats on my life ...
“That was when the parallel intelligence system went into overdrive, because they suspected that we have got information so they wanted to see who gave us that information. They were listening to our devices.”Mapaila got additional police protection in 2017 after visuals of a man waving a gun in his direction at a Chris Hani memorial event emerged on social media last year.
Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a review of the State Security Agency, the SACP reiterated last week that “all rogue intelligence activities must be exposed and uprooted from our SSA services”.
“The SACP is calling for a similar review of the police crime intelligence, the police as a whole, including the Hawks, as well the prosecution, to establish how on earth the rot of corporate state capture took place as if these authorities were non-existent, and for a firm, corrective action to be taken.”
Despite a lack of any action being taken against so-called “rogue” spies, Mapaila is confident that there will be criminal charges bought against those officials responsible for furthering the aims of the “shadow state”.
“That is the only way things will change.”