State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo claimed that she kept President Cyril Ramaphosa informed, “as a matter of transparency, respect and courtesy”, when her legal team asked for a postponement at the Zondo Commission on Tuesday.
She also said she didn’t act maliciously nor did she attempt to prevent testimony, by acting director-general Loyiso Jafta, on corruption at the State Security Agency (SSA).
Dlodlo, in a rare statement issued by spokesperson Mava Scott on Wednesday, said she initiated the request for a postponement to allow for “a process of proper consultation” between herself and Jafta about the “proceedings of the commission in respect of the participation of the intelligence community”.
She said this would have enabled her to brief Ramaphosa on the SSA’s submission to the commission “as a matter of courtesy and accountability” and also to comply with the law.
Dlodlo said she was legally compelled “to exercise oversight and ultimate executive authority over all intelligence matters of the country”.
This would be “near impossible”, however, without information at her disposal, she said, with reference to the testimony prepared by Jafta.
She said: “The least I am entitled to is a full disclosure of all intelligence information in the agency, so that I can exercise my custodial responsibility.”
Dlodlo said this responsibility was in accordance with section 209 of the Constitution and section 12 of the Intelligence Services Act, 2002 (Act 65 of 2002).
She had previously successfully asked for indulgence from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in respect of the Inspector-General’s testimony to the commission, “and so this was not malicious nor an intention to frustrate the work of the commission”.
“The work to rebuild and restore the credibility of the agency is under way, in line with the recommendations of the High-Level Review Panel, and I cannot be the one to circumvent such efforts as some seem to suggest,” Dlodlo said, vowing that she would safeguard “matters of national security” and put measures in place to combat corruption in the agency.
Dlodlo’s application to postpone the work of the commission on Tuesday was dismissed, with Zondo saying she had enough time to approach him with her concerns before Jafta’s scheduled appearance.
Jafta testified that an investigation, following his appointment in 2018, revealed millions of rands wasted in the years before, and R9 billion worth of assets that could not be accounted for.