Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2007-09-25 Reporter: Jovial Rantao Reporter: Karyn Maughan Reporter: Sapa

Selebi Next in Mbeki's Firing Line?



The Star




Jovial Rantao, Karyn Maughan, Sapa

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Hot on the heels of his action against Scorpions boss Vusi Pikoli, the president is to act against national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Several independent sources have told the Daily News that the inquiry into the claims against Selebi would be Thabo Mbeki's second major step after Pikoli's suspension, which was announced on Monday.

Mbeki is to order an inquiry into allegations that Selebi, also the head of the international police institution Interpol, has links with crime syndicates.

The third step would be an investigation into private companies, owned by apartheid-era security operators, which have been contracted by the SAPS and the Scorpions to do small- and large-scale investigations.

Mbeki, one source said, was keen to clear the air around Selebi, whom he has been seen to be protecting since the allegations surfaced.


Selebi has admitted to a friendship with Glenn Agliotti, the man arrested for the murder of businessman Brett Kebble, but vehemently denies any links to crime.

The Daily News understands that a file - compiled by a private security company on behalf of the Scorpions - is to be handed over to the acting national director of public prosecutions, advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, who would then decide whether or not there is a prima facie case against Selebi.

If there is, a full independent investigation will be ordered.

The probe would be headed by a judge because both the SAPS and the Scorpions would be unsuitable, given that Selebi heads the SAPS and the Scorpions' credibility is in question after Pikoli's suspension.

Sources have told the Daily News that Pikoli was suspended because of his failure to control the Scorpions.

Sources said Mbeki took action against Pikoli because the Scorpions had been found to have engaged in illegal intelligence-gathering activities that led to the Browse Report, which claims presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma's campaign is being funded by African heads of state.

The report says Zuma is being financed by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.


It also claims Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans are planning a coup.

The Daily News has been reliably told that the source of the Browse Report was a private security company contracted by the Scorpions.

The Daily News cannot, at this stage, name the security company, which is owned by security officials from the apartheid era.

The Scorpions are not allowed to conduct any intelligence operations.

Only the National Intelligence Agency, its units and the SAPS crime intelligence units are legally allowed to do so.

Our sources say the Scorpions also breached national security, providing private companies without security clearance with access to information which only state security officials had access to.

The Daily News understands that the security company in question was also the source of allegations - to date unproven - that Selebi was involved in crime.

This is the same company that was granted permission by the Scorpions to raid the SAPS crime intelligence offices in Pretoria, but was stopped from doing so.

Mbeki's action against Pikoli is being seen as a response to Zuma supporters *1, who have claimed that State institutions were being used to prevent the ANC deputy from becoming the nation's next president.

The Daily News sources say Pikoli was warned many times and his failure to comply forced Mbeki to act.

"He was warned and he allowed the situation to continue, leaving the authorities with no option," said one source.

Pikoli is the fourth security official to step aside under Mbeki's rule.

His predecessor, Bulelani Ngcuka, resigned under a cloud; while National Intelligence Agency director-general Billy Masetlha was suspended and then fired by Mbeki.

He is contesting his dismissal in court.

Finally, the head of the South African Defence Force, Siphiwe Nyanda, resigned to join the business world, but many believe he was pushed.

The Daily News understands Pikoli is in trouble because he failed to inform his boss - Minister of Justice Brigitte Mabandla - of the illegal operations of the Scorpions.

"He allowed the Scorpions to operate outside the law and undermined the minister by failing to inform her," said one source.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Daily News on September 25, 2007

With acknowledgements to Jovial Rantao, Karyn Maughan, Sapa and The Star.

*1       Far more likely :
Mbeki's action against Pikoli is being seen as a response to Zuma subtle threats.