Thulani Dhlomo lands plum Japan job
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.”