Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2001-03-18 Reporter: Ranjeni Munusamy Editor:

"Secret Agent" Sowed Fear and Loathing

Publication  Sunday Times
Date 2001-03-18
Reporter Ranjeni Munusamy
Web Link

Former ANC MPs Max Sisulu and Phillip Dexter this week told how Bheki Jacobs, the man who claims to be President Thabo Mbeki's secret agent, sowed divisions and created power struggles among the party's MPs. 

Sisulu, who was the ANC's chief whip and is now deputy chief executive of Denel, said Jacobs frequented the ANC's parliamentary offices over a three-year period, distributing bogus intelligence documents about cliques in the tripartite alliance plotting against Mbeki. 

Jacobs, a former ANC exile, has been accused by National Intelligence and presidential officials of authoring documents alleging that top ANC leaders took kickbacks from weapons manufacturers in return for facilitating South Africa's R43-billion arms deal.

Jacobs's real name is Hassan Solomons and is registered at the Department of Home Affairs as Uranin Vladimir Dzerzhinsky Joseph Solomons. 

Sisulu said this week Jacobs began frequenting the ANC parliamentary offices from 1995 claiming to work for National Intelligence and the President. He claimed he had been sent to "keep an eye" on the MPs.

He distributed documents and touted stories about factions. "The documents caused a lot of paranoia and divisions. It was really unpleasant. . . Several MPs complained so I told him to get out," Sisulu said. Dexter, now executive director of the National Economic Development and Labour Council, said Jacobs caused such a "commotion" with his "smear documents" that they were discussed by the ANC alliance.

Dexter was named in the documents as part of a "left grouping" who were "experimenting with strategies and tactics to wrestle control . . . from the Thabo Mbeki grouping".

Said Dexter: "He was invading our privacy and churning out this nonsense about us." 

Jacobs went to ground this week following the Sunday Times's report on his activities. Eddie Maloka, the executive director of the Africa Institute, which employs him as a consultant, says his organisation had "lost contact" with him since the report appeared. 

The Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Vusi Mavimbela, said this week that Jacobs had never worked for the agency. "He has also never been trained as an ANC intelligence operative. He was sent to Moscow for general military training and didn't report back to Lusaka as instructed."

Jacobs could not be reached for comment. 

With acknowledgement to Ranjeni Munusamy and Sunday Times.