NEWS & ANALYSIS

Does Fraser have a new President to keep? - John Steenhuisen

DA Chief Whip says Ramaphosa’s defence of former SSA DG is bizarre

Does Fraser have a new President to keep?

3 October 2018

The DA is studying President Cyril Ramaphosa’s answering affidavit to our application to set aside the appointment of former State Security Agency (SSA) boss, Arthur Fraser, as National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services.

Ramaphosa took the decision to transfer Fraser in April 2018 after the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, revealed that Fraser had revoked his security clearance. This amid an investigation, requested by the DA, into Fraser’s involvement with the Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme which he, as the then-Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), initiated and oversaw from 2007 to 2009.

Ramaphosa’s defence of Fraser is bizarre, and his contention that the allegations against Fraser “had previously been investigated and finalised by [Dintwe’s] predecessor” is disingenuous. An NIA forensic investigation into Fraser and others’ activities had found, inter alia, that criminal offences in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act 12 of 2004) and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) (Act 1 of 1999) had been committed.

The question that still needs to be answered is why no criminal charges were brought against Fraser and Co. and how he was reappointed to head the SSA in the first place.

It begs the question: what does Fraser have on Ramaphosa that makes him so afraid to act against him?

Ramaphosa is also being disingenuous by claiming the IGI’s investigation was prompted by the publishing of Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers. The DA had lodged a formal complaint against Fraser on 18 May 2017 - Pauw’s book was released five months later, in October.

The president defends his decision to move Fraser to another senior government post, instead of suspending him, by stating that “[t]here were no new allegations of wrongdoing against [Fraser]” and that the “Inspector-General’s investigation was a re-visiting of old allegations.”

This is a feeble defence, considering the seriousness of the allegations against Fraser and the seeming cover-up which saw the recommendations of the NIA forensic investigation ignored, despite being presented to the then-ministers of State Security and Justice and Constitutional Development, Siyabonga Cwele and Jeff Radebe, respectively.

The DA cried foul of Fraser the moment he was reappointed to the SSA and will continue to challenge Ramaphosa’s irrational, unconstitutional and unlawful decision to move him to Correctional Services. We consider the matter so serious that we have taken Fraser’s appointment on review in the Gauteng Division of the High Court where we will continue to challenge its constitutionality.

Fraser should be a tenant at one of South Africa’s correctional facilities, not heading the Department.

Issued by John SteenhuisenChief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, 3 October 2018