Thu­lani Dhlomo lands plum Ja­pan job

CityPress - - News - LEANNE GE­ORGE and PI­ETER-LOUIS MYBURGH news@city­

A top gov­ern­ment spy with a che­quered past and close ties to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has al­legedly been nom­i­nated to be­come South Africa’s new am­bas­sador to Ja­pan.

Rap­port and News24 have re­li­ably learnt that Thu­lani Dhlomo (45), the State Se­cu­rity Agency’s for­mer head of spe­cial op­er­a­tions and a for­mer head of counter-in­tel­li­gence at the agency’s do­mes­tic in­tel­li­gence branch, has been nom­i­nated by Zuma to be­come am­bas­sador to Ja­pan after he was al­legedly sus­pended from the agency last year.

Ja­pan is one of South Africa’s largest trad­ing part­ners, and the am­bas­sador­ship to the coun­try is one of the most sought after in South Africa’s diplo­matic struc­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to five in­de­pen­dent sources within in­tel­li­gence cir­cles, Dhlomo was sus­pended last year over an al­leged trans­gres­sion that ap­par­ently re­lated to a se­ries of trips he had taken abroad.

Dhlomo, who uses sev­eral diplo­matic pass­ports for his over­seas trav­els, also goes by the name of Si­lence Dlomo, ac­cord­ing to bor­der con­trol records.

Sandy Kalyan, the DA’s deputy spokesper­son on in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, said her party had “un­of­fi­cially” learnt of Dhlomo’s pend­ing ap­point­ment as am­bas­sador to Ja­pan. Kalyan said the DA in­tended to ask In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane what cri­te­ria were used when nom­i­nat­ing Dhlomo for the po­si­tion.

Dhlomo’s ap­point­ment as head of the State Se­cu­rity Agency’s spe­cial op­er­a­tions unit in 2012 was hit by con­tro­versy after it came to light that he had been in­volved in al­leged ten­der cor­rup­tion in Kwa-Zulu-Na­tal. Be­fore his ap­point­ment at the agency, Dhlomo was the head of se­cu­rity at the province’s depart­ment of so­cial devel­op­ment.

It was al­leged that Dhlomo re­ceived a kick­back of R1 mil­lion re­lated to ten­ders worth R45 mil­lion. He re­signed from the depart­ment after an in­ves­ti­ga­tion or­dered by then so­cial devel­op­ment MEC Me­shack Radebe found that Dhlomo had in­ter­fered in ten­der pro­ce­dures.

Dhlomo could not be reached for com­ment. His wife, Oara­bile, said her hus­band was abroad.

In­ter­na­tional re­la­tions depart­ment spokesper­son Clayson Monyela did not con­firm or deny the al­leged nom­i­na­tion, say­ing: “Nom­i­nees are only con­sid­ered rep­re­sen­ta­tives after com­plet­ing diplo­matic train­ing, se­cur­ing se­cu­rity clear­ances and pre­sent­ing cre­den­tials to the re­ceiv­ing coun­try.”

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