Lon­min boss was a ‘spy’

De­spite de­nials, City Press has seen in­tel­li­gence doc­u­ments con­firm­ing hu­man re­sources head Barnard Mok­wena’s ap­point­ment and pay­ment by the SSA as a ‘deep cover’ agent

CityPress - - Front Page - PI­ETER-LOUIS MYBURGH news@city­press.co.za

Lon­min’s fore­most rep­re­sen­ta­tive dur­ing the Au­gust 2012 strikes at its Marikana mine was a covert agent of the State Se­cu­rity Agency (SSA).

City Press’ sis­ter news­pa­per, Rap­port, re­ported that for­mer Lon­min hu­man re­sources head Barnard Mok­wena, whose harsh stance to­wards the strik­ing work­ers was widely con­demned af­ter the Marikana mas­sacre, was listed as a paid “deep cover” agent on the agency’s cen­tral source in­dex from 2004 un­til at least the end of 2012.

Mok­wena came un­der fire at the Far­lam com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the mas­sacre, af­ter ev­i­dence sub­mit­ted showed he en­cour­aged po­lice to act strongly against the work­ers and mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Minework­ers and Con­struc­tion Union (Amcu), and that he had con­vinced his fel­low Lon­min ex­ec­u­tives not to ne­go­ti­ate with them.

Amcu pres­i­dent Joseph Mathun­jwa, along with lawyers of the wounded and ar­rested min­ers, and lawyers for the fam­i­lies of the dead work­ers, said this week that any ev­i­dence show­ing that Lon­min and the gov­ern­ment col­luded against work­ers could af­fect on­go­ing civil claims against the com­pany and the state.

In ad­di­tion, just over a year af­ter the Marikana mas­sacre – while Mok­wena still worked for Lon­min – he founded a com­pany which would later play a key role in a covert in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion to es­tab­lish a new labour union tasked with dis­em­pow­er­ing Amcu.

This week Mok­wena strongly de­nied be­ing a gov­ern­ment in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tive or ever be­ing paid for such work.

‘ Iknow about that stuff, those ru­mours. I have heard about it, and what I can tell you is that I have made my sub­mis­sions at the Marikana com­mis­sion... ,” he said.

“Never. Never, never, never. I am not, and I have never been, a se­cret source – not once in my ca­reer. I was at the Broad­cast­ing Com­plaints Com­mis­sion of SA – that is the last time I was close to ... work­ing for the gov­ern­ment. Since then, I have been only in the pri­vate sec­tor, and my salary was my only source of in­come.”

How­ever, City Press has seen in­tel­li­gence doc­u­ments and cor­re­spon­dence con­firm­ing his ap­point­ment and pay­ment by the SSA as a “deep cover” source or agent.

The doc­u­ments re­veal that Den­nis Dlomo, the SSA’s then act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral, re­ceived a let­ter from Jo­han Schae­fer from BDK At­tor­neys at the end of 2012.

Schae­fer was rep­re­sent­ing Mok­wena’s wife, Man­disa, in her on­go­ing fraud case in the North Gaut­eng High Court in­volv­ing ten­ders that she had awarded in her pre­vi­ous job as a se­nior SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) of­fi­cial.

In the let­ter, Schae­fer claimed Man­disa was a covert SSA agent who needed the agency’s pro­tec­tion in the Sars mat­ter, be­cause any scru­tiny of her bank ac­count risked re­veal­ing se­cret pay­ments from the SSA and would blow her cover. Asked about the let­ter this week, Schae­fer said he could not com­ment.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the let­ter, Dlomo then in­structed Nozuko Bam, the SSA’s then di­rec­tor of do­mes­tic in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion, to check whether Man­disa’s name ap­peared on the agency’s cen­tral source in­dex, the doc­u­ments show.

In Novem­ber 2012, three months af­ter the Marikana mas­sacre, Bam’s search on the data­base re­vealed that Man­disa’s hus­band, Barnard – not Man­disa – was regis­tered as a covert agent or source of the SSA who had been paid by the agency since 2004.

It would later tran­spire that Man­disa was also a covert agent, who had been han­dled by Thu­lani Dhlomo, the SSA’s head of spe­cial op­er­a­tions.

The iden­tity of Barnard’s SSA han­dler was ver­i­fied by City Press.

In a let­ter Bam wrote to Dlomo in Novem­ber 2012, she ex­pressed con­cern that Barnard’s cover would be blown by his wife’s court case.

There is no ev­i­dence that Barnard’s be­hav­iour to­wards Amcu, or any of the strik­ing work­ers, dur­ing the Marikana strike was in­flu­enced by the SSA or any other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial.

How­ever, his es­tab­lish­ment in Oc­to­ber 2013 of pri­vate com­pany Ka­zol Re­sources, and its sub­se­quent ac­tiv­i­ties, only adds to sus­pi­cions.

Ka­zol’s three direc­tors are Barnard, Man­disa and Peter Silenga. Ear­lier this month, City Press re­ported that Silenga is an SSA agent with links to the agency’s spe­cial op­er­a­tions unit.

Silenga was di­rectly in­volved in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Work­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion Union (WAU), a new labour union in Rusten­burg which, said found­ing mem­ber Thebe Maswabi, had a “strict man­date to dis­em­power Amcu by draw­ing mem­bers from it”.

In March, Maswabi sued Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo and other se­nior gov­ern­ment lead­ers for R120 mil­lion, al­leg­ing that Zuma told him to form the new union. He claimed that, af­ter “the gov­ern­ment” stopped fund­ing him for the project, he ran into se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems.

City Press re­ported that Silenga trav­elled to Rusten­burg early in 2014 to help Maswabi rent com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­erty for the WAU.

A source with di­rect in­sight into the mat­ter said Man­disa in­di­cated that Ka­zol Re­sources was given a con­tract to help es­tab­lish the new union, hence Silenga’s in­volve­ment.

Speak­ing from Ka­zol Re­sources’ Rusten­burg of­fices, Barnard de­nied that his com­pany played any part in WAU’s es­tab­lish­ment.

“No, that is not true. I do not even know about the WAU. Ka­zol Re­sources is now mostly in­volved with set­ting up en­gi­neer­ing work­shops in Rusten­burg,” he said.

“Peter has never said to me that he is, or was, an in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tive.”

SSA spokesper­son Brian Dube did not an­swer de­tailed ques­tions.

“I hope you are not ask­ing me, once again, to re­veal op­er­a­tional de­tails and [the] iden­tity of sources,” he said in an SMS.

Lon­min spokesper­son Sue Vey said: “Un­for­tu­nately, we have no knowl­edge of the al­le­ga­tions.” ‘Not trained’

One cru­cial piece of ev­i­dence sub­mit­ted to the Far­lam com­mis­sion was a tran­script of a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Barnard Mok­wena and for­mer North West po­lice com­mis­sioner Zuk­iswa Mbombo. The two met at Lon­min’s of­fices two days be­fore the mas­sacre.

The tran­script shows Mok­wena took a hard line against the strik­ing mine work­ers and Amcu, whom he viewed as the main cul­prit.

“I am not a trained in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer,” Mok­wena told Mbombo, while he re­vealed new in­for­ma­tion that sup­pos­edly proved Amcu’s com­plic­ity.

“Our pri­or­ity is, we want peo­ple ar­rested, okay. It is very clear Amcu is be­hind it [the strike], very clear... ”

Later, at the Far­lam com­mis­sion, Mok­wena was forced to re­tract this claim. He also re­tracted a claim he had made to Mbombo that it was Amcu that had fu­elled the work­ers’ R12 500-a-month wage de­mand.

A memo Mok­wena wrote to Lon­min ex­ec­u­tives a week be­fore the mas­sacre – and later sub­mit­ted at the com­mis­sion – un­der­pinned his re­fusal to ne­go­ti­ate with the work­ers.

Be­cause the strik­ing min­ers re­jected the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM), the strike fell “out­side the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing struc­ture” and Lon­min could opt not to recog­nise it, Mok­wena suggested in the memo.

He tried to con­vince his col­leagues that Lon­min should fire the mine work­ers and call in the po­lice to deal with them.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

BLOOD BATH Hun­dreds of strik­ing mine work­ers were shot at by po­lice, leav­ing 34 dead at the world’s third-big­gest platinum mine, Lon­min's Marikana mine, on Au­gust 16 2012. Work­ers were de­mand­ing a monthly salary of R12 500. Ten peo­ple, in­clud­ing three mine work­ers, two po­lice of­fi­cers and two Lon­min se­cu­rity guards, were killed dur­ing the strike the pre­vi­ous week

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