Spooks warn violence is a threat to elections
ANC’s nominations process placed free and fair elections at risk There will be ‘grounds to challenge electoral results’ Police told to protect Union Buildings, ministers’ homes
An intelligence report, handed to President Jacob Zuma this week, reveals that the country’s spies believe that violence sparked by the ANC’s nominations process has placed free and fair elections at risk. The report, presented to Zuma by State Security Minister David Mahlobo on Tuesday, reveals that the elections risk being “delegitimised” after violence and protests associated with the nominations ignited in 80 wards and towns across all nine provinces.
“Widespread disruptions will provide grounds to challenge electoral results,” the report says.
In addition to the state security report, another intelligence report, which City Press has seen – this one authored by the police’s crime intelligence unit – reveals that, while fiery protests raged in Tshwane this week, police were told to focus on protecting the Union Buildings, ministers’ homes and national key points in the capital.
That report, compiled after a high-level meeting at the police’s Maupa Naga building in Pretoria on Wednesday morning, reveals that the presidential protection service learnt of a threat to attack the Union Buildings late on Tuesday.
The state security report, titled Domestic Stability Assessment, was also presented to the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of ministries – headed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and which also includes Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Justice Minister Michael Masutha.
The report reveals that the country’s intelligence services have projected that violence is likely to escalate before the elections on August 3 – and continue thereafter.
“Violent protest action associated with the nomination process within the ruling party and other incidents of intolerance, as well as violent protest action over lack of service delivery, have been noted in
a number of areas,” the report states.
Grounds to challenge polls
The report has found that the Independent Electoral Commission and political parties are likely to be prevented from entering affected areas. It goes on to reveal that “unhappiness” with ANC nomination lists has been “detected in all provinces, but are more intense in KwaZuluNatal”. In KwaZulu-Natal, at least 50 wards are unhappy with their nominees – including five wards in Nkandla, Zuma’s home town. In eThekwini alone, 19 wards are unhappy with their candidates. North West and Gauteng are the second worstaffected provinces, while Mpumalanga and Western Cape residents have demonstrated the least. In Gauteng this week, residents of Atteridgeville, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi were unhappy with the nomination of Thoko Didiza as mayor, but they were not alone in the province. Those in wards in Leratong, Tshepisong, Daveyton and Sebokeng were unhappy with theirs, too.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte this week acknowledged that the party’s candidate selection process was problematic and would be reviewed. She said the party learnt its lessons from the fights this year and would entertain proposals to come up with a more effective process.
The state security report states that by Tuesday, about 20 cases of public violence, theft and malicious damage to property were under investigation. It also reveals that 730 police personnel were working on the crisis, 226 of whom came from the city’s Metro Police, and the rest from the SA Police Service’s crime intelligence, public order policing, visible policing, flying squad, tactical response team, fixed air wing, helicopter and dog units.
The report concludes that a political solution is required. “Instability relating to the nomination process should be elevated to principals for their action or intervention.”
Siphiwe Dlamini, spokesperson for the justice, crime prevention and security cluster, refused to comment on the report and referred inquiries to the presidency.
Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga did not respond to requests for comment by the time of going to press yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Crime Intelligence Unit report compiled on Thursday, called Disruptive Action Tshwane, revealed that angry protesters were planning to march on the Union Buildings.
The report, and a senior source present at the meeting at which it was discussed, revealed it was agreed that more police officers be allocated to protect the Union Buildings, ministers’ homes, power stations and water reservoirs in the city.
The plan was agreed to by disaster management authorities, the presidential protection service, the public order policing unit, Tshwane metro police and Tshwane cluster police stations.
The crime intelligence report recommended that ministers’ houses be guarded around the clock by police, and that patrols by even more police officers be stepped up outside their residences.
The plan, however, did not discuss safeguarding any government buildings or residents of Tshwane.
A senior crime intelligence officer, who attended the meeting, told City Press: “Some complained after the meeting that it appeared more priority was being given to politicians’ safety than to that of ordinary citizens, but they were afraid to resist the directive.”
City Press was told police received information about possible ringleaders who may have instigated the violence, and that several local ANC leaders were questioned and had their phone data and call records examined.
Those interviewed by the Hawks’ crimes against the state unit included a driving school owner, who allegedly supplied tyres and petrol for the protesters, as well as another ANC member, who allegedly supplied food for protesters before they went out on the streets.
“However, there was no tangible evidence that could warrant their arrests,” said a senior Hawks officer.
Officers were hopelessly outnumbered in Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and Hammanskraal, where scores of businesses were looted and more than 20 buses and trucks torched.
There were reports of police running out of rubber bullets, becoming frustrated and using live ammunition.
Police watchdog Ipid is investigating the killing of one man with live ammunition at the scene of a looting in Mabopane on Wednesday night.
Ipid spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said: “Police allege community members were shooting at them and they returned fire. Lots of police bullet cartridges were found on the scene, but we are yet to establish whether it was a police bullet that killed the deceased.” Police refused to comment on the allegations. City Press saw officers watching helplessly from the sidelines in areas such as Atteridgeville, where they could not enter the township, instead patrolling from the edges and from above in a helicopter.
One youngster looting a Somali-owned spaza shop in Ga-Rankuwa seemed oblivious of the battle over his city’s mayorship. “They say they want Sputla [incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa] ... not the Zulu woman [ANC mayoral candidate Didiza].” Asked what party he would vote for, he replied, while on the run: “I will be voting for the first time and I will just have to vote for the ANC.”
Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza said they conducted successful raids across Tshwane townships on Friday.
“Furniture shops were among the looted businesses and we recovered items like fridges and beds, as well as lots of Nike shoes believed to have been stolen from the shop in Atteridgeville. Groceries and some more clothing items were also recovered,” she said.
“Community members were helpful in directing police to houses where stolen items were stored, leading to the arrest of 27 people.”