By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The state capture inquiry resumes today, with State Security Agency (SSA) related evidence from the former chairperson of the government's high-level review panel, Sydney Mufamadi.
In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the publication of the panel's report on the SSA.
The review panel was appointed in June 2018 to assess the structure of the SSA relative to its mandate and inquire into its systems and capacity.
The panel was chaired by Mufamadi and included nine other members with a wide range of senior level experience and expertise in law, security studies, civil society, academia, the intelligence and security community and other arms of government.
A key finding of the panel was that there was "political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts".
The team proposed the development of a national security strategy, and mooted the separation of the SSA into two services — a domestic and a foreign service.
Mufamadi said a proclamation made by former President Jacob Zuma violated the separation of powers and allowed him to make changes in intelligence.
He described the activities of the SOU as "unconstitutional and illegal".
Mufamadi said his panel found that the intelligence agency had factions that mirrored divisions in the African National Congress (ANC).
He also spoke of how the SOU that was established by Zuma refused to report to internal structures.
"That unit was a law unto itself, that is relative to the management structures of the SSA. More senior people said ‘as special operations, we were told that we report to the executive’."
Mufamadi also detailed how money was used without accountability.
"Huge amounts of money, which were allocated on a regular basis for projects and financial accounting, people would say 'we did not get reports'."
Mufamadi said changes made by Zuma in the operations of the SSA bypassed established security structures like the SAPS.
Meanwhile Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo adjourned the state capture commission after someone who works closely with him tested positive for COVID-19.
He said the commission was following all protocols.
"We have received news that somebody that looks closely with me has tested positive for COVID-19. It seems in those circumstance, because I am required to isolate, we can’t proceed in this form."
The state capture inquiry has since assured the public that its chairperson, Zondo, was in good health and not showing any Covid-19 symptoms.
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Video Courtesy of SABC.