Investigative journalist Jacques Pauw has accused advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi of having “fibbed” while representing the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday.
According to a report by Pauw in Daily Maverick, Ngcukaitobi claimed a number of State Security Agency (SSA) agents who were investigated for tax evasion, money laundering and fraud at the time also were contracted to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and did work for the so-called “rogue unit”.
However, while the advocate made his claim based on two documents – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s “rogue unit” report and a recent affidavit by former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg as part of a bid to have Mkhwebane’s report overturned – neither of these sources connected the agents to an alleged Sars “rogue unit”, according to Pauw.
In his report, Pauw asks whether the EFF and Ngcukaitobi accidentally mixed up their facts or lied. Elsewhere in the piece, however, he does appear to allege that the advocate was not honest.
After reading the names of the agents, Ngcukaitobi said these were the “exact same names” as those allegedly part of a Sars “rogue unit” which “operated outside the norm”.
According to Pauw, “Ngcukaitobi fibbed”, as none of the names except for one – Michael Peega – have been associated with the “rogue unit” in either Mkhwebane’s report or Van Loggerenberg’s affidavit.
Pauw’s full report can be read here.
Attempts to reach advocate Ngcukaitobi through EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, as well as attempt to get the EFF’s comment on Pauw’s claims, were not successful at the time of publication.
The EFF appeared in court to argue for the dismissal of State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo’s application to interdict the party from publishing and sharing a classified report focusing on the “rogue unit”.
The party has already published the report on their website following the Equality Court dismissing Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan’s application to have the report, written by then inspector general of intelligence Faith Radebe, removed from court papers.
The EFF took this ruling to mean that the report was now in the public domain and could be shared. The SSA, however, clarified that it was still classified.
The Citizen reported at the time that the release of the report into the public domain endangers agents, operations, and reveals to the world how South Africa conducts its investigations.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)