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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

ETV News Special Report, 16 Sept. 2003

DATE: 16.09.03
STATION: ETV
TIME: 20H00
PROGRAMME: News Special Report
DURATION: 26 Minutes

Tracking Special Branch Agent RS452:

Presenter: In 1999 the government approved an Arms Deal that cost the country billions of Rand, there has been another cost one that continues to haunt the country, it has tested the credibility of the ANC government as nothing else has done in its 10 years in power. First there were whispered rumors of corruption, then louder protests - to silence the critics the government ordered the Scorpions, the Public Protector and the Auditor General to investigate, the probe cleared government but the fall out continues. ANC Chief Whip Yengeni was the first casualty found guilty after he was proved to have corruptly received a 4 x 4 vehicle at a discount from one of the bidders in the deal, the Scorpions continued to dig. The search has taken them right up to Deputy President Jacob Zuma the ultimate test for the government and the ANC. His supporters have now come out fighting and with the help of Apartheid Era Security Policemen have told the world that an ANC Intelligence Unit concluded as far back as 1989 that the National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka was most probably a spy for the Apartheid Government - these stories have been ruling in news rooms around the country for a few weeks. Ncguka says he is innocent and intends with the Sunday Newspaper that published first that former Transport Minter Mac Maharaj. ETV has interviewed the people involved and in this special report brings you this startling story. The man at the center of the allegations against Ngcuka is former ANC Intelligence operative and brother of two people that have been investigated and accused by the Scorpions:

Mo Shaik, Head MJK Unit: In the underground days I belonged to a unit called the Mandla Justism (ph) Khuzwayo unit known as the MJK, it was based in Kwazulu-Natal and it developed as a result of certain infiltrations we made into the security branch, we were getting access to information from the security branch because of our penetration of them and the documents that we in fact were getting were these documents here. They came from a file called S126 and the S126 file was a file that the security branch had for the ANC. We would then take these documents analyse them and based on the analysis summit to Lusaka via London the, our views and perceptions in regard to the information that the security branch had of the ANC. In the main this would entail reports dealing the infiltration of the ANC, by sources some of the sources were, had different codings and we would analyse this and our task within the underground and particularly with the underground intelligence was to determine by analysis of these documents whether we could assist the ANC external Intelligence in leads insofar as the name or identification of certain sources. This particular report here - there are two such reports deals with a agent called RS452 which is handled by Lieutenant Kyle Z Edwards (ph) and the agent operated or at least the handler operated out of the Eastern Province Region and these two reports deal with the first deals with NADL - The National Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the other deals with the report of Henk Van Andel Trust (ph) which was set up in Geneva and Cape Town. So these are the two reports that's here, we analysed these two reports and at that point in time Comrade John Nhlanhla was the overall head of the Department of Intelligence and Security ANC and Comrade Jacob Zuma in particular was in charge of the Intelligence side which we were providing this information so Comrade Jacob Zuma was the coordinating point in respect of the intelligence, and comrade Nhlanhla was the overall head of the Department of Intelligence and Security. This information was given to them in the year 1989 and that is the report that we are referring to here. Well we would, we infiltrated the security branch at a significant level, the, our person in the security branch would remove the documents from the security branch offices, he would bring it to me – we had a safe house where we would meet on this matter. I would then photostat those documents, we would then give him back the file in which he would reinsert in the filing room. And then had a team of people who would then start the analysis of those documents. On the other side we had a very specialized team that then was dealing with the leads that we would provide from this end to detect who in fact was the agents that had infiltrated the ANC, or the United Democratic Front, or the Labour movement or The Youth Sector, or The Woman Sector and I can tell you these were significant infiltration.

1 minute 11 seconds

Presenter: A former security branch policemen confirms that he gave information to the ANC underground.

Former SBX: I operated and once in the security branch and moving out information to an underground cell, and this is one of my duties to take out documentation to give to the ANC underground cell.

Presenter: Shaik explains the methods used by the ANC's Intelligence Unit:

Mo Shaik: Related to these two reports where there was one other, well two other reports - the one dealing with another agent by the name of PM642 when we analysed this, now you have got to bear in mind that we were sitting with these reports which were taken from the security branch – we would then set up a analysis team that says in all probability look at these reports and extract from the reports what we would believe to be probabilities. And we were dealing with probabilities in respect of who do we most probably believe the agent to be. Our analysis then said if we, we would research the annalists from, firstly for example here the report dealing with RS452 – RS is a police agent who was placed into a target – so clearly what you are talking about here is a high ranking agent. So we are looking for a high-ranking agent that would require very special handling procedures – the second is the target because the target group gives you an indication of what it is, the NADL target grouping and the fact that the person attended NADL meeting would indicate to us that we were most probably looking for a lawyer. The third is the one dealing with the handler and the handler was in this particular case the handler is Lieutenant Kyle Edwards (ph), Kyle Edwards is quite a known person who was a former Boss agent – he was operating from the PE region so and the report also says Eastern Cape, Oostelike Province which is the Eastern province. They were looking for someone who most probably came from the Eastern Province region and we were looking for someone because if you look at the comment data base of the first report on RS452 it would indicate someone who had access to ANC thinking at a strategic level within the target group. And fourth was where we then started to look at what were the kind of techniques that we used to probably hide also the name of the, the agent or person who had access to the information. We looked at both the reports, and we then applied the criteria that we had.

Presenter: And security branch policemen we call SBX confirms that the documentation given to ETV is genuine.

Former SBX: This was one of the documents that I photostatted from a file that I had access to and given over to the ANC underground structures.

Presenter: Another form of security branch policemen also confirms the authenticity of the documents given to ETV.

Former SBY:....I didn't recognize it before but it appears to me to be a genuine SAP Security Police Communication

Presenter: More damming confirmation a third security policemen also says the reports on RS452 are real:

Former SBZ: This is from the police, the security branch this is a report from a security branch.

Presenter: Up to this point there is no conflict between the stories of MKJ unit and Nguka's office, his office also has a hive of reports from agent RS452 to the security police - not the same reports but the same format and the same handler, Kyle Edwards. From here on the stories diverge in fact move in different directions and we end up with the ANC's very surprising conclusions.

9 Minutes, 18 Seconds [Ads]

Presenter: The MKJ Unit analysed the reports that it has secretly garnered from the security police.

Mo Shaik: Because the Henk Van Andel Trust dealt with possibly only 6, 6 trustees we came to conclusion that the person once we have fitted all the criteria, the one that we most probably believed to be associated to RS452 was Mr Bulelani Ngcuka. We transmitted this information in 1989. I can in fact tell you that this analysis was put to members of the old Apartheid Security establishment, and the analysis has in fact stood the test of their knowledge as well.

Presenter: Wrong says Ncugka's spokesperson he says Ngcuka was not even at the Port Elizabeth NADL meeting attended by agent RS452. The first NADL meeting he attended was the following one in Pietermaritzburg.

Sipho Ngwema, Directorate of Public Prosecutions: We have been able to establish first of all that agent 452 comes from the Eastern Cape and it is a white person and the white person that spied on the activities of the Democratic Movement in the Eastern Cape. We have the identity of the person and we have all the information surrounding those activities. So for sure we can confirm that - what we have before was his exact activities that took place in the Eastern Cape at the time and one of the things that, you know the people that have been constructing this story have made a number of stupid mistakes. First of all he was not in the Eastern Cape - in the late 80's he came back and stayed in Cape Town and secondly he was not in NADL in the Eastern Cape so he could not spy on NADL's activities in the Eastern Cape. And we have the exact information for this particular agent 452 spied on and because it was a white agent the agent mainly spied on white people and on white democrats in the Eastern Cape.

Presenter: Former MKJ operative's say they have been misinterpreted by the media - they said they knew that Ngcuka was not agent RS452 but think that some of the reports they believe he gave to National Intelligence were credited to agent RS452 as a false flag.

Mo Shaik: Well you know we in this very interesting period between 1991 and 1994 the question arose and there was a kind of an agreement that we will not be exposing each other's agents in respect of that. I put to someone that RS452 was in fact a police source handled by Lieutenant K Z Edwards and the person who I put this information to said no I have not studied Lieutenant Kyle Edwards quite closely. Lieutenant Kyle Edwards before he was a member of the security branch was indeed a member of Boss and his associations where again he came from the Eastern Cape area, worked with Craig Williamson and was particularly in charge of the Geneva operations that Boss had. He was very close to two or possibly three people who I think will throw a lot of light on this matter - and such people were Henny Roode (ph) who was in Boss, a gentlemen by the name of Paul Goch (ph) and another gentlemen by the name of Coleske (ph). All three of these gentlemen worked in Boss and as you know that Kyle Edwards when there was a question of some misappropriation of funds in respect of Boss operations - and then he left Boss and joined the police and that is why we see this report here coming from the police side. I think the association between Boss, which then became NIS and police and especially the friendship between Henny Roode, Henny Roode, Coleske, Paul Goch and Kyle' Edwards, continued. And I think the Henk Van Andel Trust (ph) report actually emerged from the National Intelligence and was then passed on via this friendship - what we call in these days it is what we usually call a false flag or a strut-com operation and that is how it eventually got into the police data bases. So from two independent places - from National Intelligence and from the police intelligence at Security Council level they would be able to confirm the information that was in fact supplied from the same source on both sides, they will appear to corroborate each other. This technique was done either to do one of two things - firstly this technique was used in order to ensure that the handlers remain in good standing or the sources remain in good standing. And sometimes when the source was not productive it is, it was a known practice for the one agency or it was known practice to take information from another source and to put it on to as a information coming from a different source so as to ensure that the different source was in fact productive.

Presenter: In the murky world of espionage yesterday's enemies turn out to be allies, former Apartheid Security policemen have taken sides to the dispute - ETV is aware that the former handler of RS452 has given Ngcuka a affidavit confirming that he was not agent RS452. On the other side of the fence two former security policemen support the allegations that Ngcuka was a National Intelligence Agent, the first responded to a report drawn up by the MJK unit for ANC headquarters in Lusaka.

Former SBZ: I can see clearly there, there is names umm.. being mentioned in this report where Bulelani Ngcuka was in my experience concerned he was an agent from National Intelligence. During the course of my Intelligence gathering during the 80's as from 86 I was on the verge to recruit Mr Bulelani Ngcuka. And then I was requested by Mr Hendrick Roode (ph) and Coleske not to approach him. So at that stage he was a prominent figure in the Western Cape and I was on the verge to approach him. At that stage I was doing intelligence gathering I came to the conclusion that he was involved with the ANC. At this stage I ascertain that he wanted to leave the country and wanted to confirm my suspicion I informed my superior in Pretoria to place a restriction on Mr Bulelani Ngcuka's passport and indicate to him that the National Intelligence will approach him to lift the restriction on his passport and within 24 hours it had happened.

Former SB Y:...(unclear) on instruction at security headquarters a collogue and also a old friend of mine phoned me from Port Elizabeth and asked me to do it - I arranged for it to be done. And I received a visit from two, by two gentlemen from National Intelligence and asked me to unrestrict the passport. The one I knew he was also from Port Elizabeth originally he was a ex-policemen, Mr Harrit (ph) I haven't seen him for years I was actually very surprised to see him in my office there.

Presenter: Restrictions on Ngcuka's passport Nqwema retorts:

Sipho Ngwema: That is not true - first of all as far as we know that Bulelani's passport was never restricted. Let me first also explain the circumstances surrounding his passport – he applied for a passport and then he was detained, the passport arrived 2 weeks after it was detained. The passport was collected by the Minister because the Minister at the time had access to their post, she hid the passport away....

Reporter: Which Minister are you referring to?

Sipho Ngwema: Okay his wife, I am sorry okay the passport was collected by his wife because she had got access to his post at the time and then he was released 5 years later. And they got married soon after he was released and then because the passport was about to expire they left the country for Switzerland because at the time the Minister or his wife was based in Switzerland. So he went to join his wife -they had got married, in Switzerland and that was paid for, the trip was paid for by his wife and the trip was organized by his wife and the world council of churches. So all the allegations around his passport and the security agents are not correct. They will have to produce a proof that there were restrictions at the time. If anything to that effect comes out now it means that that thing has been cooked now - because at the time it was never brought to his attention, neither was it brought to the attention of his organization, his lawyers, nor his family and that is why he was able to go to Switzerland and back. First of all Bulelani was based in Durban how can a policemen from Port Elizabeth, I don't know how the security worked at that time but it does not make sense administratively for someone in Port Elizabeth to ask for restrictions from someone based in Durban. And I would assume that if there was anyone who was investigating Bulelani at the time it would be the people in Durban because he was based in Durban.

11 Minutes, 40 seconds [Ads]

Presenter: But what are the motives of Ngcuka's accusers and why are they coming forward now 14 years later?

Mo Shaik: I am prepared to come forward now because I think the situation that is prevailing right now is a difficult situation, I am aware that Deputy President Jacob Zuma was the head of the ANC intelligence, I aware that Mac Maharaj as is head of Vula (ph) had access to this information and I myself who belongs to the Shaik family was involved in this investigation. Initially when the issues around the arms investigation dealt only with my family with my younger brother Chippy Shaik I said this is a matter that he will deal with, it then went to my brother Shabir Shaik and I said that is a matter that he will deal with and it does not involve the information that I have or had in my possession. When it went to ex-minister Mac Maharaj I enlarge I said the same thing - but for me there is clearly a pattern it would appear to me today that the information or the investigations that are occurring to the extent, level and nature which they occurring would indicate to me an agenda that is beyond just an investigation into the arms investigation. It goes to in a sense of discrediting of people that somewhat has an association to deal with this - and this is why I felt it is time, and despite the risk that I do take in this matter that I need to speak about the matter in terms of what I know and what I know the ANC had in its possession.

Mac Maharaj: I think the relevance arises in understanding the agenda, if it was a person doing this to preserve his or her position - that would be an abuse. But the turmoil that it is causing, the confusion in the public mind, the training of all attention as if this government is just riddled with corruption, as if it is just ANC people fighting each other for political power - it worries me.

Presenter: Ngcuka sees other motives behind the accusations:

Sipho Npvema: The whole story is flawed, the whole thing has been cooked, the whole thing has been manufactured in order to divert issues from the current investigations. So we know that, that is a fact, however we are now going to prove to the people of South Africa that the information contained in that (unclear) has been cooked and its sole purpose is (unclear) Bulelani and it is also to cast suspicions on the creditability of this institution.

Presenter: Now that we have heard all the players - what do we know? That the accusations stemmed from two of reports filed by agent RS452 and that agent RS452 is not Bulelani Ngcuka. So if he is not agent RS452 can we then from these reports that he was a spy for the Apartheid Government the evidence that accusers have advanced is not enough. The confirmations by former security branch policemen are not convincing they come from a murky world where the line between truth and untruth is crossed recklessly, more credible witnesses will have to be found and the ANC and the government who should have evidence one way or the other are sadly silent. Did the ANC get the reports in 1989? What did it do when it got them? What made it so confident in Ngcuka that it appointed him the most powerful policemen in our country, good night.

4 Minutes 32 Seconds

-Monitoring South Africa-

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.