Statement: Premier Zille’s statement on National Intelligence Agency (NIA) monitoring


On 8 January 2008 at 06:20 am, my husband Johann answered the phone on the desk in my study. He heard the sound of tapes re-winding and clicking. He then heard a tape recording of conversations that I had had in the room. He made notes of the conversation that was played back on this recording. My husband and I made an appointment to see the then Minister of National Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils on 14 February 2008.

Minister Kasrils undertook to establish whether there had been any official directive to intercept my telephone conversations. He reverted to us. He said there had been no official directive but he “could not guarantee” that “rogue elements” had not done so unilaterally and this would be almost impossible to establish.

At roughly the same time, news had emerged and was emerging about the abuse of state institutions in the political battle between former President Mbeki and his political rival, Jacob Zuma.

Then Premier Rasool established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate certain alleged unlawful activities in the City of Cape Town. These allegations were primarily directed towards discrediting me and the Democratic Alliance.

During the course of this investigation, it emerged that the police had obtained a full record of every phone call I had made or received during the preceding months. I contacted my service provider and asked how it was possible that the police had this information. My service provider informed me that they had received an “order” to release the information. I could not establish whether that order had emanated from the Commission of Inquiry, or from a Judge, but I made it absolutely clear to my service provider that they had acted unconstitutionally. The Commission of Inquiry was subsequently declared “unlawful” by the High Court as it was “politically motivated”. I believed that the monitoring of my calls, both on cell and landline, was part of a politically-motivated strategy against me.

During 2009 I became Premier. Later that year the Cabinet had a meeting with representatives of the State Security Agency in the Western Cape. I asked the State Security Agency representatives for an assurance that neither myself nor other members of the cabinet “were or are” under any form of surveillance. The Director-General of the Province then wrote a letter on 2 February 2010 to the Director-General of the national State Security Agency, Mr MJ Maqetuka, asking whether any person in the “Western Cape Provincial Cabinet is under surveillance” by the NIA.

The Director-General (DG) received no reply to this letter.

I have on several occasions followed up with the Western Cape representatives of the State Security Agency (SSA). They have verbally assured me that they have not issued instructions for any such surveillance but they have declined to give us this assurance in writing. In our most recent discussion (this morning 9 March 2011 the Western Cape representatives of the SSA again referred us to Mr Maqetuka, who previously did not reply to the DG’s correspondence in this matter.

It is for that reason that I said in the House that “I am still unable to get an answer from the NIA as to whether my calls are still being monitored or not.”

I stand by this statement, as it is correct. Perhaps Mr Brian Dube, head of communications in the Ministry of State Security, is unaware of this background.


Trace Venter

Cell: 072 617 4798

Source: Western Cape Provincial Government

Issued by: Western Cape Office of the Premier
10 Mar 2011