State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has ordered a forensic investigation into allegations of judges being bribed.
Speaking during a question and answer session in the National Assembly, Dlodlo said she had made every effort to obtain information regarding the impugned projects.
Dlodlo said “I have as a matter of fact directed the head of intelligence in the domestic branch to initiate a forensic investigation into the allegations as these alleged transgressions occurred in the domestic branch”.
Dlodlo was responding to questions from EFF MP Quinton Ndlozi, who asked for the names of judges and amounts paid to them as part of the Project Justice, which was revealed at the Zondo Commission during the testimonies of former minister Sydney Mufamadi and acting director-general of State Security Agency Loyiso Jafta.
She said she was not in a position to respond to the question based on the little information presented to her to back up the allegation.
“I have on several occasions and up until this morning requested the DG to furnish my office with more info related to allegations against members of the judiciary.
“I cannot adequately confirm this to South Africans on a matter as serious as this without information backing up these allegations.”
She said the allegation relating to the so-called Project Justice and many other projects that were mentioned at the commission by Jafta and Mufamadi remained one of great concern not only for the integrity of the agency and its members but the very foundations of the democratic state.
The minister said she was concerned with aspects of the testimonies given at the state capture commission.
The allegations made by both the acting DG and Dr Mufamadi in respect of the so-called Project Justice have not been verified, nor had there been evidence presented to her in respect of what was said in the testimonies.
“I have on more than one occasion, following testimonies of both of them, asked the DG to furnish me and my office with info in relation to this project and up until this morning and this point I do not have much information at my disposal.”
She insisted that she was now accounting for allegations that were not backed up by any evidence she had knowledge of.
However, Ndlozi charged her answer was an abdication of responsibility and fundamental admission that she was not in charge of the SSA.
He said “The very act of you trying to stop the DG from testifying and you not knowing what he was to testify about also attest to the fact that you preside over people who do not trust you or relate to your authority.”
He accused Dlodlo of being incompetent and should be removed from office.
Dlodlo rejected the accusations of incompetence, saying that Jafta’s appearance at the commission without conferring with her was beyond her control, and it should be asked about it when he appeared at the joint standing committee on intelligence services.
“As for my removal from office based on his assertion, maybe he should go to the president and have a conversation with him on the matter, not with me,” she said.
Dlodlo also dismissed a suggestion by DA MP Diane Kohler Barnard that she had failed to stop the testimony by Jafta.
“I am the last person to stop people from telling the truth. I was very clear about accountability and good governance, the fight against corruption.
“I did not want to stop anybody from talking about issues that relate to their work that relate to the fight against corruption or even counter-espionage.”
She insisted she had wanted to ensure consultation and that credible and verified information was brought to the commission.
“I did not try to stop anybody from giving evidence to the commission. I would want to say up until this morning, there is no document that ‘this is project justice’. There is no such a thing as Project Justice.”
Dlodlo also said no project existed in SSA and that there would be no document that could be found that spoke about the so-called project.
She said “There is a project spoken about at the commission. It is called Project Mayibuye. It had a few operations within and one of which was Operation Justice”.
Dlodlo also said she did not want to set a narrative that said judges were bribed in the country as she had no evidence to that effect.
She added that “That project was given to our department by a discredited ’peddler’. One of the things I try to stop is for this department to stop using peddlers that come with information that in turn breaks the (back)bone of our democracy”.