Former South African president Jacob Zuma used the country’s intelligence services for his own political and personal interests, most notably against his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, a government report charges.
Published Saturday on Ramaphosa’s initiative, the report of about 100 pages details “serious breaches of the Constitution, policy, law, regulations and directives” by Zuma during his nearly nine years in office.
The State Security Agency (SSA) targeted Ramaphosa in the run-up to his becoming head of the ruling African National Congress in 2017, and then president, it said. Zuma stepped down in early 2018 amid charges of massive corruption.
The agency was “able to infiltrate and penetrate the leadership structure” of the movement against Zuma, said the report, drawn up by a team under former minister Sydney Mufamadi said.
The SSA became a “cash cow” for many, both inside and outside the agency, it added.
In response, Zuma accused the committee that drew up the report of having two apartheid-era spies.
“I have never been asked any questions by this committee…,” he tweeted Sunday. “I’ve never sold out nor written letters” to the security services.
“I hope people are not opening a can of worms which they might regret,” he added.
ROOT OUT GRAFT
Ramaphosa has promised to root out corruption and, in a strong statement on the report, condemned the way the intelligence services had been politicised.
“A key finding of the panel is that there has been political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the Constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts,” the president said.
A review should consider splitting the SSA in two to create a domestic and a foreign service, he added.
The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, called for the immediate suspension of all members of the SSA implicated in the report and for the police to charge those responsible.