More questions than answers about Hawks 'coup plotter' bust

Why would somebody plotting a coup openly ask for funding is one of the questions raised about an alleged assassination plot uncovered by the Hawks.

Jasmine Opperman‚ director of southern Africa operations at the Terrorism‚ Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) was sceptical about the plot — based on limited information available about it on Thursday.

The Hawks announced late on Wednesday that they had arrested a 33-year-old “coup plotter” who was allegedly planning to assassinate 19 people including members of the cabinet‚ state owned entities and prominent South Africans. The victims were “officials perceived as state capture beneficiaries”.

Communication intercepted in October 2016 led to an investigation and undercover operation‚ culminating in an arrest‚ said Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. “The communication intercepted by the investigators included various letters which were sent to selected companies to donate money at a total amount of one hundred and forty million rands (R140m) to fund the alleged clandestine operation.”

Speaking on Cape Talk radio (‚ Opperman said: “I have heard of lone wolf terrorism. I have never heard of a lone wolf coup attempt.”

She said coup plots usually involved a group structure. “If they were serious in actually executing a coup‚ would they openly go on social media and go and ask‚ or via letters‚ for funding from players outside the country. It does not make sense‚” she said.

Opperman questioned whether the timing of the bust did not form part of a “conspiracy mindset” to divert attention away from civil society demanding President Jacob Zuma step down. She cited previous discredited government “intelligence reports” as examples of this.

The Hawks said their suspect was a founder member of the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA). During the investigation another group‚ “the Anti-White Monopoly Capitalists Regime (AWMCG)” also surfaced‚ said the Hawks.


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