Court told of ANC 'counter-revolution'

Former director general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Billy Masetlha has implicated Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils in a “counter-revolution” meant to destroy the African National Congress (ANC).

ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe had said that certain things happening in the party bordered on “counter-revolution”, Masetlha testified in the Hatfield Community Court on Wednesday.

This emerged at a meeting called by Motlanthe and attended by Masetlha and police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi the day after ANC headquarters Luthuli House was gutted by fire on August 29 2005.

Motlanthe produced four pieces of paper which Masetlha said he found “disturbing.”

The papers, which included emails, were given to Masetlha to follow up and verify. The police later said they could not look into them due to “lack of capacity”.

“From our side, we continued to look into it [the four pieces of paper].”

As Masetlha was investigating, he came across information implicating “certain people” in the so called hoax e-mail saga. Masetlha said he was reluctant to provide information to Kasrils.

Due to the sensitivity of the information Masetlha reduced the team working on the matter from 12 to three people.
All the information was then channelled to Masetlha.

He said the information was getting “explosive and scary”.

He then compiled a top secret report for President Thabo Mbeki, which took three weeks. He couldn’t give the report to Kasrils as he was implicated.

The report was delivered by Masetlha to Mbeki at Luthuli House after Masetlha failed to secure a meeting with him.

“I was content that I’d done the report, in the back of my mind, it was my exit report,” Masetlha said.

He added that he wanted to leave as the situation was “getting ugly” and that the plots detailed in the report were “intense”. He did not elaborate.

He said on October 17 2005 Kasrils called him and told him about certain findings by the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) Zolile Ngcakani that bordered on criminality on his part—the surveillance of businessman Saki Macozoma, which was authorised within the NIA on the basis of his supposed links with foreign intelligence agencies.

On the same day Masetlha’s deputy Gibson Njenje was suspended with the threat of dismissal. He intended taking the ministry to court to challenge dismissal.

On October 19, Masetlha met with Mbeki. Masetlha stressed that only Mbeki had the authority to fire him. Mbeki then asked Masetlha to persuade Njenje not to go ahead with the court proceedings. Masetlha successfully did this.

The next day Masetlha met with Mbeki, Kasrils and Ngcakani. Kasrils then produced a letter in which he notified Masetlha of his suspension.

“The report on the findings of the IGI was fundamentally flawed and malicious as [the IGI] had come to certain conclusions with no facts,” said Masetlha.

When the IGI asked for certain information on two projects, Project Avani and Project Fairwood, Masetlha said he met with his bosses and support staff and briefed them about the request.

On September 28, 2005 Masetlha said he was being interviewed by the IGI when he realised that the interviewing process was not procedurally correct, as Corenza Milliard, the minister’s advisor was present and raised provocative questions.

“I raised concerns with this. However, I passed information required to the IGI. I knew she would be there and that she would be briefed by the minister and ask questions that would have a favourable outcome. It was a kangaroo court ... it was a farce.”

Masetlha is charged with withholding information from Ngcakani regarding the surveillance of Macozoma.

Prior to the investigation Masetlha and Kasrils had not seen eye to eye due to a report Masetlha had submitted to the Khampepe Commission. In it he said the Scorpions should be merged with the police force.

This was because the Scorpions were seen as a “a law unto themselves” and had no accountability.

Masetlha said Kasrils was uncomfortable with the submission and condemned it.

The case continues. - Sapa

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