One of the jailed leaders of the notorious South African white supremacist group, Boeremag, has been sending and receiving emails with sympathisers in government, MPs heard today.
It emerged during a briefing by State Information Technology Agency (Sita) chief executive Setumo Mohapi to Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) that a forensic probe last year found that two employees of the Sita, which procures and managed IT services for the State, had exchanged communication with Andre du Toit, who was jailed in 2013 for high treason.
Mohapi said the information came to light while Sita was investigating employees in the supply chain management division following allegations of irregularities involving contracts procured on behalf of the SA Police Service (Saps) worth billions of rands.
“On a pursuit of a particular trail that had nothing to do with them [Boeremag], what we do is we seize computing devices of employees and do a forensic investigation and it was during that particular seizure of a device of an employee that we found that particular relationship,” he said speaking on the sidelines of the meeting with MPs.
Mohapi said there were direct emails between an employee and Du Toit as well as with members of his family.
One of the employees resigned before his disciplinary process could be concluded, while another woman was on suspension.
“We are cleaning up now. Over these years, have there been issues, you can’t tell, safe to say there’s evidence of collusive behaviour in tenders by third parties and obviously a suggestion that money could have flown from SAPS all the way to providing financial support to the families of people in correctional services – the Boeremag,” said Mohapi.
The Sita and the SA Police Service are set to go to court after one of the outside service providers under investigation, Keith Keating of Forensic Data Analysis (FDA), threatened to and followed through on switching off critical IT systems of the police, including the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) and Firearm Permit System (FPS).
Keating claims the police have not paid him the required maintenance payments since December.
Sita later switched the systems back on, locking FDA out of the system and prompting the legal action.
Democratic Alliance MP Tim Brauteseth, who has been pursuing the matter in Scopa since last year, again held up a photo in the committee of two Saps members posing with Keating and the then project director of Unisys, a company which supplied the police with forensic equipment, through FDA, at Old Trafford in Manchester United jerseys. Brauteseth wanted to know if the trip could have been in exchange for favours from the two officers – both in the supply chain management division of Saps.
The MP said the latest evidence of emails to Du Toit “detailing the support they’re giving him in prison, detailing letters back thanking them for their support in prison”, were disturbing.
“We’re concerned that sensitive and key people in the SITA and FDA are communicating on such a familiar basis with Andre du Toit whilst he’s in prison. We’re concerned there could be a link there between what sort of financing has been done from the side of SITA and from the side of SAPS,” said Brauteseth.
“Are all these irregular contracts…some of the funds or a lot of the funds from those particular contracts, which have now been shown to be dubious at the very least, are they going towards the funding of the Boeremag or the funding of Boeremag prisoners?”
African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith said news of the exchange of e-mails was concerning and could not be ignored.
“It raises a whole lot of worrisome information regarding what I would deem to be organised groupings that are siphoning money from the State without any value for money being returned and the recipients thereof is something I think we need to investigate further. You heard members talking about who the possible recipients are and if that is true I think that its a big problem we cannot ignore,” said Smith.
“You find people working with the Saps, within SITA and within FDA, so clearly there has to be a sharing of information so it begs the question how much do they exactly know and how able are they to switch on and switch off systems that are critical for the security of the State so this absolutely cannot be ignored.”
Smith said was another case of state capture.
“The Sita is the nerve centre of the IT system in government and if you capture the nerve centre, you will be in a position to capture or influence every other system of government by virtue of where you are based.”
Earlier during the meeting, Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkuleko Hlengwa said he was certain that the “tentacles of the cabal extended beyond Sita to the very heart of SAPS”.
National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole said SAPS was conducting its own probe into the Boeremag angle, but he would not divulge details.
“There is somewhere where we have initiated our own investigations which are more deeply crime intelligence orientated, also covert orientated. We are unable to share all the information, especially for the public domain but I would like to confirm that the information of the Boeremag have been brought to our attention.”
Head of the police watchdog, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride also weighed in, saying a bigger question needed to be answered.
“The question needs to be asked whether the SAPS vehicle has been used to fund a white supremacist, non-Constitutional organisation whose sole aim is to destroy, by violence, the Constitutional order.”
The Boeremag were responsible for planting various bombs and conspiring to plant more in a campaign to destablise the country by attempting to bring about a race war in 2002. Many of their leaders were later arrested and jailed, including Du Toit and his brother.
African News Agency contacted the department of correctional services who had yet to come back with a response.
– African News Agency (ANA)