Former president Jacob Zuma allegedly used the State Security Agency’s (SSA’s) special operations unit to deal with his perceived enemies in the political arena, civil society and student movements.
Among those the SSA moved to frustrate was then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, in his quest to replace Zuma as ANC president.
According to Sydney Mufamadi, the chairperson of the high-level panel into the SSA, the agency, among other things, tried to impede the distribution of CR17 T-shirts to the 2016 ANC January 8 anniversary rally held in the North West.
CR17 is the campaign that catapulted Ramaphosa to the ANC top position in December 2017 at the party’s elective conference at Nasrec.
According to Mufamadi, the panel heard evidence how the SSA had also moved to impede the transportation of ANC supporters from Gauteng to the same 2016 January 8 birthday bash.
At the time, there were growing calls in the country for Zuma to vacate the Union Buildings amid multiple scandals, with Gauteng ANC structures viewed to be leading the charge.
Mufamadi also testified that a month after the SSA’s manoeuvres against CR17, the focus shifted to the state of the nation address that February. The mission this time was to neutralise and penetrate the “Zuma Must Fall” movement.
Apparently, according to the SSA, there was intelligence that the movement had planned to stage a protest outside parliament, with the hopes of pulling a crowd of 5,000 people.
But after the agency infiltrated them, only 50 people turned out.
Other leading NGOs and pressure groups viewed as anti-Zuma in the country — such as the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) — were also infiltrated, the Zondo commission heard on Monday.
Popular student movement Fees Must Fall was also not spared infiltration by SSA rogue spooks. There was a special operations project for this mission, named “Project Academia”.
“We were told that the project was designed to intervene in the Fees Must Fall movement and influence the direction of the student movement,” said Mufamadi.
“The idea was to support what was called ‘young bright minds’ to be patriotic and to be strategically deployed to ensure stability and peace in our universities.”
His testimony is continuing.