Judges colluded with government – witness


DAVID Mahlobo, in his then role as Minister of State Security, worked with two high court judges to interfere in a case and ensure a ruling in favour of the government, a high ranking intelligence official testifying before the state capture commission, has claimed.

The bombshell allegations were made by a witness, only identified as “Steven”, the witness, a senior serving official in the State Security Agency, responsible for domestic intelligence.

“Steven” told the commission, chaired by Deputy Judge President Raymond Zondo that he was invited to a meeting at Mahlobo’s Pretoria residence. After arrival, he was ushered to the lounge where he was introduced to two Gauteng-based high court judges, whom Mahlobo had referred to as his “izigebengu” (tsotsis/criminals). 

“Steven” said the two judges were a white male in his late 50s and the other black and tall. He could not remember the full names of the judges.  He said the white judge was nervous and while the black judge, who said he was Ngwenya, was relaxed.

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The meeting was called to discuss a court case brought against the government by the South African National Editors Forum, after the government had placed a jamming device that stopped all cell phone use during the 2015 state of the nation address by then President Jacob Zuma.

“Steven” said the meeting with the judges was about “what they could do for us”. “Minister Mahlobo said we are in trouble and had to find a way to win the case (against SANEF),” he said.

In response to a question from Advocate Paul Pretorius, the evidence leader, “Steven” said he did not understand how the two Gauteng-based judges would influence a matter heard in the Cape Town division. The two judges indicated to Mahlobo that it would not be a problem.

In the end, the government won the case and the matter was taken on appeal by SANEF.

Steven also tabled three examples to prove his assertion that Mahlobo, as a political head of intelligence, was involved in operational work. The first was in 2015 when he ordered SSA to draw and pay R400 000 to an “asset” or source who did not seem to exist. The second was in 2016 when Mahlobo reported planned sabotage of the Pelindaba Nuclear facility outside Pretoria. Nothing happened after a two week joint operation by intelligence, the SA Police and the SA Defence Force. “Steven” said there was “no threat at all” to the nuclear facility and “the asset belonged to the minister”. 

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Pretorious said Mahlobo has, in his testimony, denied the allegations.

The hearing continues.

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