Publication: Noseweek Issued: Date: 2001-04-01 Reporter:

African Institute Consultant




Date April 2001, Issue 32

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Africa Institute consultant Sobantu Xayiya explains how the informal ANC intelligence network, known as Congress Consultants, operated:

‘The type of material passed to the director (Bekhi Jacobs) is, in most instances, sensitive information. Often this comes from ‘comrades' occupying very senior positions both in business and government.

‘Sometimes people wanted discreet action taken, so that the movement was not brought into public disrepute. It was in this light that a copy of Winnie Madikizela Mandela's letter to Jacob Zuma [about the president's alleged sexual indiscretion with Mrs Sam Shilowa] was passed on to the presidency long before it was leaked in the media - so that Mbeki could ‘deal with it quietly'. [It appears this report did not reach the President, although old ANC intelligence hack - and current head of the SA Police Service - Jacky Selebi was promptly delegated to attempt to silence the Sunday Times. He succeeded insofar as the newspaper agreed to omit all references to the alleged affair with Mrs Shilowa when it reported on the Winnie letter. See nose31.]

‘Sometimes information comes from junior employees [about their corrupt seniors]. Because they fear victimisation, they quietly pass the information on to us.'

Why did the network send reports and documents to the president?

‘First and foremost, he is president of the ANC. If there are reports of serious malpractices, it is the duty of every responsible person to bring such matters to the attention of the President. This is done to minimise the damage that might be inflicted on the organisation and the government.

‘Now, by throwing these matters to the media, Pahad is setting up a dangerous precedent.'

With acknowledgements to Sobantu Xayiya and Noseweek.