Sunday World

Sisulu aides claim ANC election campaign being marred by spy games and dirty tricks

Staff say they are being tailed

- By George Matlala

Senior members of presidenti­al hopeful and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s political office claim that spies are following their movements and hacking their phones.

Sunday World has establishe­d that three officials in Sisulu’s office have written to the office of the inspector-general of intelligen­ce Setlhomama­ru Dintwe, saying their calls are being intercepte­d.

Yesterday, Sisulu’s adviser Thami ka Plaatjie told Dintwe that there was an “unlawful intelligen­ce operation” by unknown people targeting him.

“I am acutely aware that I am being followed and my movements are tracked given the many instances when I confronted those who have followed me.

They take pictures when I am in public places and eavesdrop on my conversati­ons,” he said in his e-mail.

“This week these activities took the nature of a phone hacking when my Whatsapps [messages] and that of the group of people who work for minister Sisulu have been disrupted. Our conversati­ons have been intercepte­d and our phone calls have been occasional­ly fiddled with,” he added.

Ka Plaatjie further said the activities outlined in his complaint are a gross violation of his freedom of expression and freedom of associatio­n and called on Dintwe to investigat­e.

In January, Mphumzi Mdekazi, another adviser of Sisulu and her chief of staff Bomaye Ntshona also laid a complaint with Dintwe, alleging unlawful intercepti­on of their communicat­ion.

Dintwe confirmed he was attending to the complaint and that an investigat­or had been assigned to probe the matter.

“Our investigat­ion on the matter is continuing and we are still awaiting responses from the designated intelligen­ce services.

“We would like to advise that investigat­ing a complaint of this nature to a comprehens­ive and satisfacto­ry conclusion takes time.

“In this regard, we appreciate your patience and co-operation to date as we are trying to finalise your complaint,” Dintwe said.

The complaints come as the minister crisscross­es the country, canvassing for support to contest President Cyril Ramaphosa when the ANC holds its elective conference in December. Those close to her believe that her staff members are being targeted as part of efforts to derail her campaign.

Last month, Sunday World reported Sisulu took her fight to the ANC integrity commission, where she attacked the party’s veterans over an article she wrote criticisin­g the judiciary.

Her public spat with the president, during which she stopped short of saying Ramaphosa was lying when the latter said she apologised for her attack on the judiciary, explained her open warfare with the president as she gears herself to unseat Ramaphosa.

She attacked Ramaphosa’s media office as she claimed the contents of the president’s statement was unfortunat­e as it was not what they agreed on, prompting calls from inside and outside the ANC for her to be reined in.

But those close to Ramaphosa say his strategy has been to ensure Sisulu is not made to look like a victim, something they say she wants to use to mobilise support.

The president and his allies have resisted calls for her to be removed as minister.

It is a strategy that has also seen Ramaphosa’s allies refuse to target her for removal as the chairperso­n of the party’s national executive committee subcommitt­ee on social transforma­tion committee.

The legal adviser in Dintwe’s offiice, advocate Jay Govender, said Plaatjie’s complaint was lodged yesterday.

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Thami ka Plaatjie
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Lindiwe Sisulu

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