During the worst unrest crisis to face post-democratic South Africa, factional battles within the ANC have emerged as ministers and the party publicly contradict each other over the mayhem that engulfed parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng. The Minister of Police Bheki Cele has made a not so veiled accusation that State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo lied when she claimed that she gave the police adequate intelligence ahead of the looting that unfolded.
Bheki Cele told the Parliament’s portfolio committee on police that he had never seen any intelligence documents warning of the failed insurrection. It was the first time he was questioned on intelligence received by SAPS since the violence broke out.
“That information that we received, that information that we analysed and packaged, was handed over to the police,” said an emphatic Dlodlo last week.
On Tuesday, Cele however said he never saw the intelligence warnings. He referred to it as a product – a commonly used phrase for intelligence gathered.
“It’s you minister, that would have given product to me because the Minister of SSA cannot give product direct to the other DG. It would have to come to via me and I give it to the national commissioner (of police).”
Meanwhile, there is the back and forth within the Security Cluster over who is to blame for the failure to protect the country’s national security. Cele said there should be evidence that he received the information as is alleged.
“I want to repeat here I have never received the product (intelligence). This product, you sign when you receive them. When you receive product of State Security, you sign. You go check my signature there, I want to end there on that one.”
There have been calls for all the Security Cluster ministers to be fired following President Ramaphosa’s frank admission that the country was ill-prepared for the chaos that unfolded.
Earlier Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence, was quoted as saying there was no evidence that what happened in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal was a failed insurrection – directly contradicting President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Minister in the Presidency Khumbuzo Ntshaveni then told the media that Mapisa-Nqakula’s comments were not supported by facts from law enforcement. Maphisa-Nqakula has since told eNCA that it was not her intention to contradict the president.