Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2007-09-26 Reporter:

Spy vs Spy?



Cape Argus



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Such things are by definition difficult to analyse, but yesterday's news of President Thabo Mbeki's steps against senior policing officials suggests an immense can of worms.

It was announced on Monday that Mbeki had suspended Scorpions boss Vusi Pikoli, apparently because his relationship with Justice Minister Brig-itte Mabandla had become untenable.

No sooner had eyebrows settled back into place than news began emerging of action about to be taken against national police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

It was reported that Mbeki was about to order an investigation into Selebi's alleged links with international crime syndicates.

This latter development - if indeed it comes to fruition - is quite breathtaking. Many had assumed that Selebi was in the mould of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang - an untouchable.

But now it seems Selebi may be set to join Pikoli and former National Intelligence Agency boss Billy Masetlha on a growing scrapheap of former security operatives - all of which casts an interesting light on the resignations of former SANDF head Siphiwe Nyanda and National Intelligence co-ordinating committee boss Barry Gilder.

It does not require much of an imagination to join some of the dots.

Mbeki's recent moves follow revelations about those findings of the Kampepe Commission into the way the Scorpions operate that were "sealed" in the report.

Some of these have been revealed by Masetlha and it seems likely that his scrap with Mbeki may persuade him to tell more.

Unfortunately, these developments have the real potential to undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system.

Perhaps Mbeki would be best advised to take the public into his confidence as he proceeds down what could be a treacherous path.

With acknowledgement to Cape Argus.