New twist in Sekun­jalo spy­ing saga

Apartheid era tac­tics were used


IN A fur­ther de­vel­op­ment in the Sekun­jalo group spy­ing scan­dal, three own­ers of pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies have al­legedly been at the cen­tre of il­le­gally tap­ping the phones of sev­eral Sekun­jalo se­nior ex­ec­u­tives.

The three, whose iden­ti­ties are known by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia, are also sus­pected to have had links with the apartheid se­cu­rity branch. They have de­nied the al­le­ga­tion.

Sekun­jalo has lodged a com­plaint with the Ta­ble Bay Har­bour po­lice af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that the cell­phones and other de­vices of the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives and some fam­ily mem­bers of the group’s ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son Dr Iqbal Survé had been tapped.

Charles Abra­hams, a Cape Town lawyer ren­der­ing ser­vices to the group; which in­cludes com­pa­nies such as AYO Tech­nol­ogy So­lu­tions, In­de­pen­dent Me­dia and African Eq­uity Em­pow­er­ment In­vest­ments Limited; also sus­pected that his phone has been il­le­gally in­ter­cepted.

A lis­ten­ing de­vice was also dis­cov­ered in Survé’s of­fice.

Two of the pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies are Cape Town based, and one is in Pre­to­ria. Their own­ers claimed to have decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in the po­lice ser­vice, with one hav­ing served as an of­fi­cer from 1967 un­til his re­tire­ment in to 2010.

Another, ac­cord­ing to high rank­ing sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, was a colonel in the old apartheid se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus and reg­u­larly re­ports to a pow­er­ful min­is­ter and as­so­ciate of se­nior politi­cians.

He also pro­vides reg­u­lar in­for­ma­tion to a cor­po­rate en­tity based in Cape Town chaired by a for­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter. He was tasked with es­tab­lish­ing a five-mem­ber team to phys­i­cally fol­low Survé and mem­bers of his fam­ily. He is also al­leged to be the one re­spon­si­ble for plant­ing lis­ten­ing de­vices in the of­fices of Sekun­jalo through con­trac­tors, ac­cord­ing to the source.

Sekun­jalo said: “We have been aware for some time that there are pow­er­ful in­di­vid­u­als us­ing apartheid era po­lice tac­tics to do il­le­gal sur­veil­lance on our group di­rec­tors, em­ploy­ees and sub­sidiaries. We have em­ployed a rep­utable counter sur­veil­lance firm and we have es­tab­lished the iden­ti­ties of the par­ties in­volved and handed over in­for­ma­tion to the po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate and bring the cul­prits to book.”

Ap­proached for com­ment, the di­rec­tor of the Pre­to­ria-based com­pany and the two Cape Town firms em­phat­i­cally de­nied be­ing part of the cor­po­rate spy scan­dal. “There is a le­gal process for which a judge must give writ­ten au­tho­ri­sa­tion to con­duct such in­ves­ti­ga­tions … My com­pany does not, and has not since it was es­tab­lished, ever had any rea­son to make use of il­le­gal ac­tions such as these.”

He said his com­pany con­ducted crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions on be­half of com­plainants dis­sat­is­fied with the SAPS.

The owner of one of the Cape Town pri­vate se­cu­rity firms said: “We are not in­volved in the Sekun­jalo sit­u­a­tion. If our name is im­pli­cated, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer from SAPS should con­tact me. My busi­ness is small and still new – we do not have the ca­pac­ity to do what is al­leged.”

The other owner of a lo­cal com­pany said he was shocked by the al­le­ga­tions. “I have noth­ing to do with the al­le­ga­tions. We work strictly on man­dates and what­ever the com­pany man­dates. We in­ves­ti­gate crime, fraud, child cus­tody etc. We do de­bug­ging and we find lis­ten­ing de­vices .The al­le­ga­tion that I was in­volved in or snoop­ing around phone calls is not true be­cause that would be a crime.”

ARMAND HOUGH African News Agency (ANA)

GRADE 12 pupils across the coun­try are back in class af­ter a one week break. An­nounc­ing the clo­sure two weeks ago, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa said the re­open­ing of schools would be phased in. See page 2 |

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