Zuma, Cwele, Mahlobo, Fraser should be 'arrested for treason'

Former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi.
Former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi.

The DA, Saftu and Right2Know (R2K) have all called for the arrests of those implicated in the explosive report by the high-level review panel into the functioning of the State Security Agency (SSA) during former president Jacob Zuma's administration.

Saftu said Zuma, former intelligence ministers Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo, and former SSA head Arthur Fraser should be arrested for defeating the ends of justice and "possibly for treason against the people of this country". 

This comes after the panel - headed by former cabinet minister Sydney Mufamadi -revealed that various financial and operational abuses took place at the agency to favour Zuma and his political allies. Moreover, the report found that various individuals in the civil society movement and elsewhere who opposed Zuma were spied on illegally. 

It recommends that the country's entire intelligence community should be overhauled to make a fresh start.

The DA said criminal charges should be opened against those implicated, citing Cwele, Mahlobo, Fraser and the SSA's former head of special operations Thulani Dlomo as individuals who ought not to be spared, as much of the wrongdoing happened under their watch.

The party said the collapse of the SSA reached new lows under Zuma's administration "with parallel structures being created that directly served the personal and political interests of Zuma and, in some cases, the relevant ministers".

Saftu said in a statement that it was not surprised by the panel's findings as some of its leaders had indeed been spied on. "We believe that the independent, democratic and campaigning federation has been one of the worse victims of the shenanigans the report is exposing," said the trade union federation's leader Zwelinzima Vavi.

"What the country needs is a new intelligence structure that will leave no stone unturned to get all of the known and unknown crooks that are responsible for pillaging - that has cost the economy billions of rands that we so desperately need to improve government services - locked up.

"We call for the immediate arrest of Jacob Zuma, Arthur Fraser, Siyabonga Cwele and David Mahlobo, together with all those who helped them, and [for them to be] charged for defeating the ends of justice, including possibly for treason against the people of this country."

R2K said President Cyril Ramaphosa should implement the recommendations of the panel as soon as possible - including that the controversial Protection of State Information Bill (widely referred to as the secrecy bill) should be scrapped.

The advocacy group said those implicated in the report were a threat to the country's democracy.

"As such, we demand that those who engaged in these criminal activities and gross abuses are named, investigated and disciplined and/or prosecuted where appropriate," said the organisation in a statement.