Deputy Minister of the Presidency responsible for the Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa

  • The secretive Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence has cleared the Undersecretary of the Presidential Service in charge of State Security, Zizi Kodwa, of wrongdoing in connection with the Phala Phala saga.
  • He found “no independently verifiable information” to support claims that Crime Intelligence assets were used against Phala Phala.
  • The DA said the committee’s finding confirms the need for a special committee on the matter.

The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) found no “independently verifiable information” to support allegations that the Deputy Minister of the Presidency in charge of State Security, Zizi Kodwa, used funds from a police intelligence account in relation to to the saga of Phala-Phala.

The JSCI, which holds secret meetings, tabled its report on the investigation into the allegations arising from the Phala Phala case before the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The saga exploded into the public consciousness when Arthur Fraser, former director-general of the National Security Agency and former correctional services commissioner, launched a kidnapping and money-laundering case against President Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly covering up the burglary of the President’s Phala Phala farm. in Limpopo.

Fraser also made similar accusations against the head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Maj. Gen. Wally Rhode, and members of the Criminal Intelligence Service.

According to Fraser’s affidavit, Ramaphosa had at least $4 million in cash stashed on a sofa at his game farm and later participated in a cover-up after an allegedly illegal investigation into the theft of the money.

READ | The ANC’s respect for Ramaphosa in Phala-Phala proves that Zonda’s fears are justified

On August 5, amid pressure from opposition parties on Parliament to do its job, Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nkakula asked the JSCI to investigate specific allegations of Phala Phala’s theft.

These were:

  • That Kodwa knew about the Phala Phala robbery and chose to keep it a state secret rather than report it to the appropriate authorities;
  • That Kodwa accompanied Road during secret communications between the South African and Namibian authorities;
  • That a secret Crime Intelligence fund was used to fund covert operations that tracked down thieves to recover stolen money; and
  • That nearly 2 million rand per month from this fund was spent on sending an elite special operations force to guard Ramaphosa’s private cattle farm, which would be a flagrant misuse of taxpayers’ money if true.

According to a statement by JSCI chairman and ANC MP Jerome Maake, “JSCI has ensured that the matter is being dealt with with due urgency given its importance and the public interest involved.”

According to Maake’s statement, Kodwa denied prior knowledge of the alleged affair and all the allegations against him.

National Police Commissioner Fanny Masemola “said that no funds from the Secret Service Account of the South African Police Crime Service (SAPS-CI) were used in connection with the theft at Phala Phala Game Farm”.

The statement said:

The committee found that there was no information that could be independently verified to support the allegations against Hon NG Kodwa and the use of funds from the SAPS-CI secret service account.

“Although this matter was dealt with in accordance with the relevant legal framework, it has no relation to any other government body currently dealing with the same matter. The findings of the JSCI should not be seen as an endorsement or justification of any of the affected parties in the theft of Phala Phala Game Farm,” Maake said.

The prosecutor was not impressed.

Siviwe Gwarube

DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube

News24 Jan Gerber

“The committee’s contention that they did not have enough evidence to proceed with the investigation clearly demonstrates why the establishment of a special committee on the matter was crucial and must be established urgently,” DA chief Siwiwe Gwarube said in a statement.

In June, DA leader John Steenhuizen asked Mapisa-Nkakula to set up a special committee to investigate the Phala-Phala case. She dismissed it because other agencies were still investigating the matter. Another reason was that the JSCI would investigate the matter.

ANALYSIS | The ANC is using the same tactics of state capture to protect Ramaphosa from controlling Phala-Phala

According to Gwarube, this is why a special committee is needed.

“It is necessary to ensure the coverage of this scandal at all levels and the investigation of all state institutions. A special committee on this issue will be able to obtain evidence that other parliamentary bodies should act on this matter. It will also do so in an open and transparent manner, unlike any work done by JSCI,” she said.

“We need to take the oversight responsibility seriously, not just look for reasons why this agency can’t do its job.”

The Probe Commission accused Parliament of failing to appoint a special committee to investigate state capture. Also, Parliament’s excuse for not appointing such a committee was that other agencies were investigating.

“The only thing that is clear is that the Speaker is determined to repeat the ‘mistakes’ of his predecessors, rendering Parliament useless in the face of such important national issues as this one. No lessons have been learned from what happened during the state capture and what was allowed to happen during Jacob Zuma’s tenure,” Gwarube said.

READ | The Intelligence Committee facilitated state capture without holding SSA, Zondo ministers accountable

The Probe Commission also found that JSCI had contributed “to some extent” to state capture by failing to fulfill its oversight responsibilities.

“JSCI appears to have failed to ensure that adequate and timely action was taken to address the apparently criminal activities of the intelligence services brought to its attention,” the report said.

The Commission recommended that Parliament consider amending the Intelligence Oversight Act to ensure that the JSCI reports to Parliament as much as possible before the election.

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