Allow spy inspector space to work
The main lesson from the police infighting in the past few years was that it allowed the criminals to roam free and leave citizens besieged. The fight was so scary that police resources, which should be used to fight crime, were used to save the egos of the individuals as police refused to cooperate with the investigation of their then boss Khomotso Phahlane.
Fast-forward to this week’s events when it emerged that State Security Agency head Arthur Fraser allegedly intimidated Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe. Fraser allegedly even tried to suspend Dintwe – having no authority to do so. This battle, which is playing itself out in courts, is because Dintwe has been doing his job – that of investigating the conduct of intelligence officers, including Fraser.
Dintwe has been investigating Fraser following complaints, emanating from Jacques Pauw’s book The President’s Keepers, which implicated Fraser in running a parallel intelligence network in his earlier stint as spy boss before 2010. The book claimed an internal probe had concluded that Fraser should be criminally charged.
After he started the probe, Dintwe claims in court papers that Fraser threatened that he would revoke his security clearance.
While Fraser was yet to respond to the court action, the public spat is unwelcome and would have a severe effect on how the intelligence community operates.
Dintwe should be given the space to conduct his investigation and Fraser must cooperate with such a probe, as the law dictates. Should Fraser be unhappy with the investigations, the courts are the final arbiters on matters like this. But no one should refuse to be investigated because of the position he or she occupies.
We are equal before the law and the country’s intelligence does not need a clash of egos.