IOL forced to apologise for smear campaign targeting Daily Maverick

INDEPENDENT Media have been forced to apologise for their smear campaign. “During March 2020 Daily News published an article titled ‘Daily Maverick asked me to write and do negative tweets about Dr Iqbal Survé’ in print and on its digital platform within Independent Online. The article accused Daily Maverick and its editor Branko Brkic of orchestrating and financially sponsoring a fake news smear campaign against prominent politicians, businessmen and executives, including Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé.”

The source of the article, Modibe Modiba, was later ordered by the High Court to unconditionally retract, apologise, and pay damages for his unlawful and defamatory allegations against Daily Maverick and Mr Brkic. Daily News Editor Ayanda Mdluli, and Independent Online editor Lance Witten hereby unconditionally retract the article and apologise to Daily Maverick and its editor Branko Brkic for the harm that was occasioned through the publication of Mr Modiba’s unlawful and defamatory allegations.

Arthur Fraser’s smear campaign ramps up #Spygate

THE MAN implicated in Volume 6 of the Zondo Report, in a scheme to essentially defraud South Africa’s intelligence agency the SSA of millions of Rands via widescale abuse of state funds, including serious breaches of national security whilst DG of State Security (2016-2018) now appears behind a campaign of leaks specially designed to deflect attention away from the Zondo findings. Fraser’s offences include ‘abuse of the vetting system’ and involve the relocation of a nerve centre to his own home to create a parallel agent network external to the SSA inspectorate.

A news-story punted by IOL yesterday in which their own discredited investigations unit (read propaganda unit), the Falcons claim an exclusive entiteld: “Phala Phala Farmgate – Where Ramaphosa’s stolen dollars came from” proceeded to repeat the contents of a supplementary affidavit already referred to by the Citizen in a story by Fazel Patel published 26 October, and forms part of a election campaign by the group known as Operation Hlanza.

The allegations were thus far from being ‘an exclusive’ since they were already circulating over two months ago. The contents first appeared in Fraser’s supplement from June 2022, as his recollection of a response to the Director for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) in which he alleges:

“In response to a question from the DPCI investigators on where the money comes from, I advised that one of President Ramaphosa’s closest advisers, Bejani Chauke, was ostensibly instrumental in illegally bringing large sums of US dollars into South Africa for both he and the president after returning from trips he undertook on behalf of President Ramaphosa to various countries including, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco and Equatorial Guinea.”

The supplement is also referred to in the Ngcobo Report: “The statements by Mr. Fraser which supplemented his complaint to the SAPS and the Public Protector are the main source of information. Together they suggests that the money which was stolen from the private residence of the President on the farm was not the proceeds of the sale of animals as alleged by the President. Rather Mr. Fraser suggests that this money was illegally brought into the country after the President’s advisor, Mr. Chauke, collected the money for both him and the President on certain trips he undertook to the Middle Eastern and African countries, on behalf of the President.

The chief problem here is that Fraser was no longer DG of state security at the time that he claims to have come across this information.

If Fraser knew about the unlawful receipt of funds which are alleged to have been laundered by Ramaphosa’s administration whilst ‘out of the loop’ as it were, then he most certainly knew about similar activities, including state capture under Jacob Zuma when he was DG and in legally in control of state security.

And where he appears quick off the bat to report the resulting shenanigans under Ramaphosa to the DPCI, (as if he were still acting in the role of DG), it appears he failed to do so when it came to Zuma when he was in office and expected to apprehend wrong-doing. All of which raises the uncomfortable question as to the extant to which he may have benefited from what became a free-for-all during the Gupta-orchestrated looting of state funds, and then deployed this latest intelligence opportunity to leverage some form of settlement?

The problem with the current sequence of events, is really the baldfaced manner in which the findings of the 5500 page Zondo Commission into Allegations of State Capture are now being superceded by later events referred to by the slim 82 page Ngcobo Report.

It is troubling that Fraser appears to be the sole source of the latest round of revelations following his move to correctional services (despite the later appointment of  Loyiso Jafta who should arguably have been the person to institute proceedings if not subsequent DGs) and that IOL is essentially resorting to single-source journalism in its own campaign, one which provides absolutely no further details other than that already in the public domain.

The result smacks of abuse of intelligence. Hearsay evidence by a former spyboss, turns around a dodgy case of innuendo ultimately based upon equally dodgy elements of secrecy. If agents in the field knew something, then they must be called to testify, even if they do so behind camera. If a former spyboss makes allegations, then surely the current spyboss must be called to explain why he or she has not?

If the allegations are true, and Fraser is a genuine whistleblower (not someone desperate to save his own skin), they may point to an even more alarming and ongoing problem with the manner in which the ruling party, particularly the executive, has allowed itself to broker influence and junkets from other states and various actors.

The state capture under Zuma thus may have simply leached into the current administration. It is clear the ruling party has a serious problem.