South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) is headed for a complete overhaul after suffering a decade-long dysfunctionalty.
“The appointment of competent people in the right spaces, the review of legislation, the appointment of ministerial advisory committees, that work has been done,” said Ayanda Dlodlo South Africa’s state security minister.
The State Security Agency is the department of the South African government with overall responsibility for civilian intelligence operations. However, over the past decade, the agency’s capabilities have been eroded from within.
“We are in the process of rooting out those problems” and the State Security Agency will be a different organization within the next few months,” security minister said on May,18th.
Under former President Jacob Zuma nine-year rule, the State Security Agency was sucked into factional battles within the ruling African National Congress, and widespread looting of state funds.
A commission of public inquiry was launched in January 2018, to “investigate allegations of state capture, corruption, fraud and other allegations in the public sector including organs of state” in South Africa.
Zuma, was forced by the ruling party to quit in 2018, was replaced by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.
South Africa’s main opposition party Democratic Alliance, accuses Dlodlo of trying to cover up the wrongdoing at SSA during the Zuma era. This month, Intelligence Inspector-general Setlhomamaru Dintwe told the panel headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Dlodlo had appointed 26 managers without following proper procedures.
However, Dlodlo said the law gave her sole prerogative to make SSA appointments, although she had consulted with other officials before signing off.
Some of the testimony given to Zondo, including that U$4.2 billion went missing from the SSA, was a “complete fabrication,” and accusations that the agency paid judges to influence the outcome of cases couldn’t be backed up by evidence, the minister said. The alleged misappropriation of funds predated Dlodlo’s term in office.
Dlodlo, 57, joined the African National Congress (ANC) and its armed wing at the age of 17.
She is schooled in intelligence from the former Soviet Union, underwent military training in Angola and fought against White-minority rule.
She has previously worked at port authorities in the U.S. and U.K., state-owned South African phone company Telkom SA SOC Ltd. and insurer Sanlam Ltd.
Dlodlo is accused of clandestinely working for interests of former leader Jacob Zuma.
“In the work of government I have never experienced such hostility, such hate, such push-back,” she said. “I don’t have his number, I don’t even talk to him, but I am still branded as a Jacob Zuma person today.”