How has President Jacob Zuma been using the covert resources of the state to bolster his position?
This is one way.
Concerned that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was winning support in the mining sector, Zuma allegedly funnelled resources into a rival union – the Workers Association Union (WAU).
WAU was established early in 2014 to thwart Amcu’s dramatic rise in the platinum sector in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre at the end of 2012.
Now President Jacob Zuma, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and government intelligence agents have been taken to court.
Congratulations to Pieter-Louis Myburgh, who broke the original story broken in April this year. All the stories are carried below.
Did Zuma stash secret funds to establish Amcu’s rival union?
Pieter-Louis Myburgh2016-04-17 15:00
A huge civil suit against President Jacob Zuma, three Cabinet members and the national police commissioner is giving renewed impetus to sensational allegations that senior government leaders and secret intelligence agents were involved in the creation of a new trade union that was apparently intended to lure mine workers, particularly in the platinum industry, away from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
City Press sister newspaper Rapport reports that the allegations are being made in the High Court in Pretoria in a R120 million claim against Zuma, the ministers of state security, police and defence, and the country’s police chief.
The claim relates to, among other things, the financial affairs of the Workers Association Union (WAU), a new trade union that was established early in 2014 to thwart Amcu’s dramatic rise in the platinum sector in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre at the end of 2012.
This was at the expense of the pro-ANC National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which lost thousands of members to Amcu.
The aggrieved party, Thebe Maswabi, a former Amcu member, who was initially part of a group of so-called Amcu rebels who, in 2013, made allegations of corruption against Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa, said he later formed the WAU on the instructions of Zuma, and received large amounts of cash from intelligence agents to pay for, among other things, the new union’s offices and staff salaries.
The WAU’s money apparently began to dry up after the union failed to lure significant support away from Amcu. This meant Maswabi alone was responsible for the mountain of debt that the union owed creditors, he said.
According to court papers, Zuma and the other defendants last month indicated they would oppose the claim.
A notice in the Government Gazette shows the WAU was registered on February 24 2014.
Bongani Majola, Zuma’s spokesperson, said the matter was sub judice and that it would run its course “in terms of the rules of the court”.
Brian Dube, State Security Minister David Mahlobo’s spokesperson, declined to answer questions about whether Mahlobo had had any contact with Maswabi.
Siphiwe Dlamini, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesperson, said: “Seeing that the matter is now following the court processes, it would be inappropriate to comment before that process has been concluded.”
Zuma, spooks and the bogus union
Pieter-Louis Myburgh And Poloko Tau2016-05-08 15:00
A shadowy network of intelligence agents and contracted operatives closely linked to President Jacob Zuma has, in four years, undertaken at least two covert projects to further his interests.
The State Security Agency’s (SSA’s) Special Operations Unit (SOU) in 2011 recruited a former apartheid-era spy to travel to Europe to source sensitive reports detailing dodgy payments to prominent ANC figures linked to South Africa’s multibillion-rand arms deal.
Two of the reports obtained by the former spook and handed to his SSA handler were later controversially barred as evidence by Judge Willie Seriti’s arms deal commission.
City Press’ sister newspaper, Rapport, also uncovered evidence of the involvement of SOU-linked spies in the formation of the Workers’ Association Union (WAU), established to reduce the power of mineworkers’ union Amcu on the North West platinum belt.
Both operations required the use of state money and resources and, in both cases, Zuma himself appears to have played a key role.
City Press reported in April that WAU founding member Thebe Maswabi instituted a civil claim of R120 million against Zuma, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, two other national ministers and the acting police commissioner.
Maswabi alleges Zuma told him to form the new union, but then government stopped funding him, leaving him in serious debt.
Maswabi said he had “several meetings” with Zuma, including one in the UK.
“I needed to urgently meet Zuma, and when I called his people I was told that I should prepare to fly to the UK. Indeed, I flew down and we had our discussion there, but I also previously met him in Pretoria and Cape Town.”
Maswabi said the WAU, launched in Rustenburg in March 2014, had a “strict mandate to disempower Amcu by drawing members from it”. He maintains he was “well taken care of by Zuma and his people”.
“I could name the car I want, any SUV, and get it delivered and the same happened with loads of cash, which was handed over to me whenever I needed it,” he said.
But matters turned when “Zuma and his people” cut ties with him and stopped taking his calls.
Rapport has established two compelling links between intelligence agents and the formation of the WAU:
» A cellphone number listed as one of the WAU’s contact numbers on the official labour department union registration document belongs to Yekani Monde Gadini, husband of Zuma’s legal adviser, Bonisiwe Makhene. Gadini is an SSA operative who once boasted about his “open access” to Mahlobo and at one stage received hundreds of thousands of rand from the SSA for his intelligence work. He put down the phone when approached for comment and did not respond to the queries sent by email.
» Former WAU members provided the newspaper with the cellphone number of a man with “expensive shoes, nice clothes and an expensive car” who allegedly came to help find new union offices. The number was traced to Mthuzimele Peter Silenga, a former National Intelligence Agency agent who went on to work at the SA Revenue Service’s (Sars’) segmentation and risk unit.
Silenga’s Sars boss was Mandisa Mokwena who, in 2014, was reported by City Press as being a member of the covert SOU.
Mokwena is a former business partner of First Lady Thobeka Madiba Zuma. Silenga did not respond to requests for comment, sent via SMS, and did not answer his phone.
Former WAU members say when they asked where the new union’s money would come from, Silenga told them “the minister” would take care of it.
The tale of the SOU’s involvement in tracking sensitive arms deal documents is rooted in another civil claim lodged in 2013 against Zuma; Mahlobo’s predecessor, Siyabonga Cwele; presidency director-general Cassius Lubisi; and SSA director-general Dennis Dlomo.
Apartheid-era spy Riaan Stander alleged that in late 2011, Thulani Dhlomo, whom City Press also identified as an SOU member, approached him to work for the SSA. According to court papers, Dhlomo allegedly told Stander that he represented Zuma’s interests and wanted Stander to investigate issues around the arms deal.
This meeting took place shortly after Zuma announced the formation of the Seriti commission.
In early 2012, Dhlomo instructed Stander to travel to Europe to source two key documents detailing German arms manufacturer Ferrostaal’s role in the arms deal saga.
Ferrostaal had earlier commissioned German law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek and the US-based law firm Debevoise & Plimpton (D&P) to compile reports detailing the company’s possible liability in its weapons contracts with various countries, including South Africa.
The reports, parts of which were later leaked, indicated that several senior ANC members and others benefited from dodgy payments and offsets deals directly linked to Ferrostaal’s deal to supply South Africa with new submarines.
According to the D&P report, the company set aside R300 million to influence “senior politicians”. Rapport’s sources said Stander sourced both Ferrostaal reports and gave them to Dhlomo.
Seriti later ruled that these documents could not be submitted as evidence because Ferrostaal refused to waive its legal privilege over them. Stander took Zuma and the others to court in May 2013 in a dispute over payment and the claim was settled.
“I do not wish to comment on this matter at this stage,” Stander said this week.
Mahlobo’s spokesperson, Brian Dube, answered via SMS: “The minister is busy with Vuwani matters as he is also acting police minister. Remember, some of your queries date back to 2014 when he was not even here, so I don’t think there will be a response.”
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Majola, his lawyer, Michael Hulley, and other presidency officials did not respond to calls or SMSes.
BREAKING: Zuma, ministers in court over ‘covert’ workers’ union
Johannesburg – A huge civil suit involving staggering claims about the involvement of President Jacob Zuma, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and government intelligence agents in the formation of a new labour union aimed at destabilising anti-ANC labour union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is due to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
Rapport and City Press revealed in April and May this year that Thebe Maswabi, a founding member of the Workers Association Union (WAU), was suing Zuma, Mahlobo, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for R120m.
Maswabi claimed that he had allegedly received large bundles of cash from covert intelligence agents to establish the WAU in Rustenburg in 2014.
According to Maswabi, he had been told to set up the new union so that it could draw support away from labour leader Joseph Mathunjwa’s Amcu.
Maswabi also claimed that Zuma had orchestrated the project and that he had met with the president several times before the plan was implemented. This included a meeting with Zuma in London.
But the WAU ultimately failed to draw large numbers of platinum mine workers away from Amcu, and the payments made to Maswabi by the covert agents stopped, he claimed. He was left to pay the WAU’s debts himself, including the outstanding bills for houses and offices the new union had rented.
The defendants, who were represented by the state attorney’s office in Pretoria, originally filed a notice of intention to defend Maswabi’s claim. But in mid-2016 this reporter received word that Maswabi reached a settlement out of court with Zuma and others.
However, News24 recently learnt that Maswabi was pursuing the matter and that it would finally be heard on Friday.
Rapport’s original investigation found that a cellphone number listed on the WAU’s registration document at the Department of Labour belonged to Monde Gadini, husband of Zuma’s legal adviser Bonisiwe Makhene.
Gadini also happens to be closely associated with the State Security Agency’s (SSA) special operations unit, a shadowy intelligence outfit that has come under fire for getting involved in politically-motivated intelligence projects.