Chikane points finger at apartheid secret service

Former members of South Africa’s current intelligence services who were once part of apartheid secret services were behind the ”special browse” report about an alleged plot to overthrow the government, said Director General in the Presidency Frank Chikane on Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Chikane said that predominantly members of the former apartheid-police special branch, military intelligence and national intelligence service, and people who had ”relations or association” with these services were responsible.

”There is a clear indication that there’s targeting and the targeting is on the African National Congress as the ruling party and the intention is to produce conflict within,” said Chikane on the intention of the people behind the document, titled Special Browse ‘Mole’ Consolidated Report.

”You need to weaken the ruling party to be able to weaken the state and therefore the government,” he said.

The ”browse report” became public earlier this year alleging that several people — ranging from ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma to some former Umkhonto weSizwe veterans — were involved in plans to overthrow the government.

It included allegations that Zuma was being bankrolled by Libyan and Angolan leaders to oust President Thabo Mbeki and that Umkhonto weSizwe veterans had met to discuss plans to overthrow the government.

”It is quite clear that while some of the events cited actually occurred or are true, woven into them are provocative, deliberate and baseless allegations,” said Chikane.

The report was first given to the national director of public prosecutions who, in July last year, sought the advice of the directors general of the South African secret service and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on its contents. A preliminary assessment of the contents of the report by the NIA and secret service led to the conclusion that some of the content of the report was malicious and intended to create confusion.

Accordingly, none of the state organs conducted any investigations relying on the document. A different version of the report was leaked to a journalist six months later, in January this year. Subsequently, it was leaked to some leaders of the ANC and later to the general secretary of the

Congress of South African Trade Unions.

”There is a considerable degree of clarity with respect to the role players involved in the leaks referred to above, their modus operandi and their intentions. Further, there is little doubt that the various leaks were deliberately orchestrated and timed,” said a statement released by the government on Saturday.

Chikane did not give the names of the people the government believes are behind the allegations and said they will not immediately be charged. He added that it is not all former apartheid agents who were behind the effort.

”Even those who are worked in the old security police don’t like this; there are good people out there who were part of the old order who don’t like this,” he said.

However, Chikane admitted that the unnamed group had succeeded in one of its aims, which was to create confusion.

”Their activities in the above regard have triggered considerable tensions, mistrust anxieties, confusion and deductions about conspiracies affecting numerous people both within government and outside government,” he said, adding: ”People have learned a good lesson they now will know that you don’t start fighting each other and suspect each other because someone fed some information into your system.”

Intelligence and law-enforcement services will improve coordination among themselves and strengthen counter-intelligence operations, he said. Other departments will stop using external security services or individuals without vetting them first. — Sapa

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