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17 Mar 2006 07:48
Intelligence Inspector General Zolile Ngcakani’s report on the alleged “hoax
e-mails” is set to worsen tensions within the African National Congress ahead of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting next week.
Mail & Guardian interviews with a range of senior party leaders exposed deep divisions on the e-mails, which are likely to be discussed at the NEC meeting.
The fault lines follow the rift in the party between pro- and anti-Jacob Zuma factions, with some members disputing the authenticity of the messages and others believing they are genuine.
The M&G understands from impeccable sources that Ngcakani’s report found that the e-mails were a hoax in which suspended National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director General Billy Masetlha was centrally implicated.
An official in the inspector general’s office told the M&G this week that Ngcakani had found that Masetlha, IT executive Muziwendoda Kunene and certain NIA officials may have been linked to the fabrication of the e-mails, which purport to implicate senior ANC and government officials in a plot to destroy Zuma and ANC Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe.
Responding to Ngcakani’s findings, Masetlha’s lawyer, Imraan Haffegee, said his client had not seen the report and had never been informed about the e-mail investigation.
“We were only informed about the investigation around the surveillance of Saki Macozoma and a particular project, which I am unable to mention in public. I would find it very odd if the IG has found that my client was involved in the e-mails,” said Haffegee.
Ngcakani was asked by Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils to investigate the origins of the messages after they became public late last year. After completing his investigation, he handed his report to Kasrils last week. The report is expected to dominate discussion at the party’s NEC meeting next week.
More than eight senior ANC members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed sharply divergent views. Some said they would welcome Ngcakani’s findings; others threatened to reject his report.
Some senior members, including ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula, have described the report as a “whitewash” aimed at underplaying the existence of the real forces within the party out to destroy Zuma and Motlanthe’s political careers.
They questioned Ngcakani’s neutrality, saying that he himself was implicated by the e-mails. Imtiaz Fazel, inspector general’s chief operating officer, denied this, saying that only one message made mention of the inspector general and that this did not amount to being “implicated”.
Meanwhile, there is confusion over whether the ANC has instituted its own investigation into the e-mails. Although four senior NEC members, including Motlanthe and Kasrils, confirmed an internal ANC investigation was under way, three other senior executive members told the M&G this was not the case.
“To the best of my knowledge, no decision was made that the ANC should conduct its own investigation. We resolved during our last NEC meeting that we should wait for the inspector general’s investigation before we could discuss the matter,” said one high-up.
The official said that whoever was behind the e-mails, manufactured them to create the impression that a conspiracy against Zuma and certain other ANC members did exist.
Said another NEC member and former premier: “Ngcakani’s report means nothing to the ANC ... we will reject it outright. We will wait for our own investigations into the matter.
“No one asked Ronnie [Kasrils] to conduct the investigation. We decided during the last NEC meeting that the ANC should look at the matter.”
Kasrils has also come under attack for his role in the e-mail saga, with the accusation that he has played the role of referee and player at the same time.
Kasrils this week defended his decision to refer the matter to Ngcakani. “The Office of the Inpector General is an independent and statutory post established by an Act of Parliament to provide oversight of the work of the intelligence services,” said his spokesperson, Lorna Daniels.
She said the investigation was conducted within specified protocols and methodology and in conjunction with the South African Police Service. Daniels said e-mails referring to Ngcakani and Kasrils surfaced weeks after the inspector general’s inquiry began.
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