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Former intelligence minister David Mahlobo is facing a police investigation over illegal spying activities on critics of former president Jacob Zuma. A former State Security Agency (SSA) operative’s affidavit named more than three dozen high-profile figures who were under surveillance on former president Jacob Zuma‘s instruction through high-tech equipment provided by the Russians. Among them were obvious Zuma enemies like chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, his former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, and ex-Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. However, names that came as a surprise were journalism professor Anton Harber, former Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka, and finance minister Tito Mboweni.
Wierzycka is well known for her stance against corruption and she was instrumental in exposing both the #GuptaLeaks in 2017 and the auditing firm KPMG as a facilitator of state capture within government entities. Wierzycka recently posted on Twitter that she is well aware that she has been the subject of spying. The state security operative then confirmed that the former CEO is amongst a group of ‘strategic individuals’ whom he monitored through phone tapping and cellphone triangulation.
Happy to testify I was followed (they were so obvious), my phone was tapped (line was always crackling) and harassed at airports by State Security ladies who did not even pretend to be customs. https://t.co/y5CiLp3yTw
— Magda Wierzycka (@Magda_Wierzycka) April 11, 2021
Questioning the motives and modus operandi of RET looters. And being rich/ powerful. Simple.
— keep left🔥 (@keepleft0) April 11, 2021
In an interview in 2018 with BizNews founder Alec Hogg, Wierzycka described the need to target corruption in South Africa and why she went from a leading chief executive in financial services to someone who could potentially attract a few enemies.
“I didn’t start off by wanting to be an anti-corruption crusader, it was more the fact that being in the investment industry, what we did see on the ground is a country spiralling downwards under the Zuma regime and it was the truth that potentially was hidden from members of the public. It got to a point where you had to do something. I just felt you had to start speaking out – particularly after Gupta leaks appeared.
What absolutely amazed me is that with all of that evidence out there in the public realm, no one was doing anything about it. That’s really what triggered this kind of involvement in starting to speak out and little did I know at the time that I would be a bit of a lone voice from the business side.
I expected business South Africa to stand up and say, ‘We cannot continue on this path because it’s a path of economic destruction for this country’. So, never mind the political issues but just on the economic front, it’s in the interest of business and would have been in the interest of business South Africa to speak out. When the Gupta leaks came into the public domain I fully expected leading business figures to speak out. Instead, no one did.”
— Stefan Maree (@StefanMaree1) April 12, 2021
A secret witness told the Zondo Commission that Mahlobo received millions in cash from the State Security Agency which had to be delivered to Zuma. Mahlobo denies that he ever received large cash payments and he currently serves as the deputy human settlements minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet. As such, community members are taking to social media to voice their frustrations.
“Mahlobo currently serves as the deputy human settlements minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet. This is why nothing will change,” says
Cyril is dyed in the wool ANC. The evidence is overwhelming that its modus operandi mimics that of the mafia; its leaders are largely unaccountable and even the Constitutional Court is acting with undue deference to a man who is manifestly corrupt and engaged in criminal behaviour. What makes me sick is the vast majority of the business community are silent, compliant, and don’t want to rock the boat, especially about expropriation despite its consequences. These same men swagger up to check-in counters and demand to be treated like gods because of their ‘status’ and have big bravado.”
“Wasn’t he the fellow that testified at Zondo a couple of days ago?” asksMy heavens, the bloke I watched looked and sounded like a caricature of a Dunning-Kruger experiment.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to read a headline related to our government and actually be surprised for once.
— Lyndon Labuschagne (@lyndonlab) April 13, 2021
Needless to say, many South Africans are cheering Magda Wierzycka on because she doesn’t hesitate to call out corruption.
And a wonderful woman. She should be in politics.
— Robbie aka xolani. (@Robbie_Zuntabel) April 12, 2021
“Great track record and she speaks her mind freely, probably because she owes nobody nothing,” writes
Everyday I’m astonshinged by the abuse of state resources! @Magda_Wierzycka Keep doing what you do!
— Avi (@IAvoidANo) April 12, 2021
It sounds like you’re not safe.
— Le’tladi Paul Johannes (@le_tladi) April 12, 2021
— Alex Frey (@alex7frey) April 13, 2021
Please do not hold back on this one.
Surely a slam dunk case.
— Pierre Jacobs (@Meatman_WP) April 13, 2021
We actually trusted people like David Mahlobo with intelligence services matters 😫. Jacob Zuma really didn’t care about our country and people’s safety. What a historical mistake his Presidency was! #StateCaptureInquiry
— Lethabo (@Cheetahplains) April 9, 2021
To hear the full interview with Magda Wierzycka on being followed, listen below:
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.