Newspaper questions spook chiefs’ business links


Newspapers in the Independent stable are today questioning the business links of the men President Jacob Zuma earlier this month appointed to oversee a revamped intellgence community.

The Star reports that new State Security Agency (SSA) director general (DG) Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka retains interests in at least 14 businesses.


“His colleague, newly appointed DG of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Lizo Gibson Njenje, is an even busier man, with links to at least 30 businesses,” the paper says.


Public servants must get permission to make money outside their jobs, and anyone appointed to the intelligence services must undergo a security clearance.


Both men have held senior positions at various times in the intelligence structures, and some of their business interests overlapped with this, The Star added.


State security spokeswoman Lorna Daniels said Maqetuka was outside the country and could not be contacted, while Njenje had indicated he would resign from his businesses.


Maqetuka was deputy DG of the NIA from 1995 to 1997, and Njenje was deputy DG of the SA Secret Service (SASS) and deputy DG of the NIA during 2003 and 2005.


The NIA deals with intelligence within South Africa and the SASS with external issues.


In February 1997 Maqetuka became a member of two close corporations, Real Image Films and SA Film and Video Distributors, along with NIA colleague Arthur Fraser. Both are still part of these businesses.


Fraser, brother of former Public Service and Administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi is now the NIA’s deputy DG for operations.


In 1997 Maqetuka became a director of at least five Lebone companies. The Africa Lebone Group, Lebone Construction, Lebone Security Systems, Lebone Aviation and Lebone Health were set up on different dates in 1997.


The businesses and the directors, including Maqetuka, used the same post office box address in Pretoria.


The businesses still exist, with the same addresses, and Maqetuka is still linked to them, but that post office box is now used by the Iraqi embassy, The Star noted.


One Lebone director is Themba Sono, a founder member of Nkobi Holdings, the business used by President Jacob Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of corruption.


In 2004, Sono told Shaik’s trial he left Nkobi in 1997 because Shaik made him feel “like a con artist”.


One version of Maqetuka’s CV indicates that in 1997 he was a director of Lebone Technologies, but the company didn’t exist at the time. He was also involved in a mining company.


During 2000 and 2001 Maqetuka was deputy DG of the SASS and from 2001 to 2003 he coordinated the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC).


His business dealings continued – in 2000 he also joined Corporate Compass Consulting, which he remains part of.


Between March 2005 and September 2006 Maqetuka was Home Affairs DG. During this time he joined Chima Properties along with Abbey Chikane.


Chikane sits on the board of the NIA-owned business Electronic Communications Security (COMSEC), which ensures the safety of government communications. Former NIA chief Manala Manzini still sits on the COMSEC board.


Njenje’s CV is vague, but his business dealings are extensive. He has been linked to more than 50 businesses and is still part of more than 30.


There is a history of NIA staff running businesses while they work for the government.


Fraser is still linked to the businesses he shares with Maqetuka, and to a hospitality and conference business.


Manzini was a director of at least nine businesses while working for the NIA.

Pic: President Jacob Zuma of South Africa