The DAs chief whip John Steenhuisen has released a statement responding to what he called President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “bizarre” defence of former State Security Agency (SSA) director general Arthur Fraser.
Steenhuisen added that Ramaphosa’s decision not to suspend or discipline Fraser because he had already been investigated by inspector general of intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe’s predecessor is “disingenuous” as a National Intelligence Agency (NIA) forensic investigation found that criminal offences had been committed by Fraser.
The DA chief whip then went on to allege that Fraser must have some kind of information on Ramaphosa that has led to the president’s failure to ensure criminal charges against Fraser.
Steenhuisen asked the question: “What does Fraser have on Ramaphosa that makes him so afraid to act against him?”
He also called the president’s defence of his decision to move Fraser to another senior government post rather than suspending him “feeble” “considering the seriousness of the allegations against Fraser.”
Their statement also mentions a “seeming cover-up which saw the recommendations of the NIA forensic investigation ignored, despite being presented to the then ministers of state security and justice, and constitutional development, Siyabonga Cwele and Jeff Radebe, respectively.”
Earlier, it was reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared to have former State Security Agency (SSA) director general Arthur Fraser’s back, despite the many allegations leveled against the ex-spy boss who the president himself demoted to national commissioner of correctional services in April.
This came after Fraser was accused of revoking inspector general of intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe’s security clearance in an attempt to block him from reporting on his colleague’s alleged corruption.
Fraser was named “the spy who saved Zuma” after an article in the Mail & Guardian alleged that he had leaked the “spy tapes” to Zuma’s lawyers. These tapes led to the dropping of then president Zuma’s corruption charges in 2009.
And, in Jacques Pauw’s damning expose The President’s Keepers, he was accused of heading a project in which half a billion rand in state funds were wasted amid fraud and corruption.
Despite all of this, Ramaphosa says there is no evidence that Fraser is “not of good character” and has justified his decision to move Fraser to another governmental post rather than suspend him.
This comes after the DA filed papers challenging Ramaphosa’s decision to hand Fraser a fresh position rather than discipline him.
The president said: “In my view, there was no basis for me to suspend him at that time. He was an incumbent director-general. During his tenure as director-general, he had not faced any charges of misconduct. There was no new allegation of wrongdoing against him.
“The inspector general’s investigation was a revisiting of old allegations, which predated Mr Fraser’s appointment as director-general of the SSA, and which had been investigated by the previous inspector-general.”
The president added that it’s only because of the publication and subsequent popularity of Pauw’s book that the allegations against Fraser “resurfaced in the public domain”.
Ramaphosa has taken the position that only new allegations coming to light would have warranted suspension.
“In the absence of such new allegations, it is unreasonable of the DA to expect me to have suspended Mr Fraser from the public service. On the facts available to me, I accepted that Mr Fraser was a fit and proper person to continue serving as the head of the department of correctional services,” he said.