DA says it acted legally 'at all times' in state security saga

The Democratic Alliance has renewed its calls for the suspension of director general of the State Security Agency (SSA) Arthur Fraser and has denied that it received any confidential information from the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI).

Last week IGI Setlhomamaru Dintwe took the unusual step of releasing a statement in which he alleged that the SSA director general was trying to scupper his investigation into him.

He also lodged a court application challenging the withdrawal of his security clearance. The case will be heard on Thursday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

In his replying affidavit, Fraser hit back and alleged that the investigation into him was politically motivated and that Dintwe shared classified information with political parties, particularly the DA.

It was the DA who lodged a formal complaint with the office of the IGI, asking Dintwe to investigate Fraser's involvement with the Principal Agent's Network (PAN), which he oversaw as the deputy director general of the SSA from 2007 to 2009. This complaint was laid in May 2017.

On Monday, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen released a statement saying that the DA rejected the allegations that it received classified information from Dintwe. 

"The DA has at all times acted lawfully when providing information to Dr Dintwe as part of its complaints against Arthur Fraser," said Steenhuisen.

DA complaint unrelated to Pauw's book

"It is similarly public knowledge that in September of 2017, the DA also requested that the IGI expand the scope of his investigation to also probe allegations of Fraser's potential involvement in a covert unit operating within the SSA targeting political opponents of former president Jacob Zuma, in addition to the initial complaint," said Steenhuisen.

He added that the information at the DA's disposal, which formed the basis of the complaints, "in no way arose from the contents of Jacques Pauw's book, The President's Keepers, which was only published in October 2017".

"In fact, when the allegations contained in Pauw's book came to light, the DA again wrote to the IGI in November 2017, requesting a meeting with Dr Dintwe in order to be provided with an update on the progress of the investigations into Fraser's ostensibly criminal conduct."

In his explosive book, Pauw implicated Fraser in running a parallel intelligence network during a previous stint at the spy agency before 2010, wasting millions of taxpayers' money.

Pauw last week told News24 that Dintwe requested a letter from Pauw in early March to confirm that neither he nor his staff had given Pauw the state security documents. Pauw complied. 

READ: Jacques Pauw: 'Inspector-General wanted letter from me to clear his name'

Meanwhile, the DA is continuing with its attempts to have Fraser suspended, pending the investigation.

Last week the party wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request that Fraser be suspended.

"We now call on President Ramaphosa and the Minister of State Security, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, to also revoke Fraser's security clearance as a matter of urgency," said Steenhuisen.

"Fraser's attempts to frustrate the investigation into his ostensibly criminal conduct by intimidation and diversion are nothing more than desperate attempts to avoid scrutiny at all costs. It is a clear conflict of interest for Fraser to be allowed to frustrate the IGI's investigation into him. 

"President Ramaphosa and Minister Letsatsi-Duba must act quickly to protect our national security.

*News24 previously reported that Dintwe would lodge the court application on Tuesday, April 17. This has been corrected to reflect that the matter will in fact be heard on Thursday, April 19.

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