Saturday, June 6, 2020

South Africa’s spy agency shake-up scuttles plans to oust Masisi

The recent shake up within the South African State Security Agency has scuttled plans by former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his chief sponsor Bridgette Motsepe Radebe to topple President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that the South African State Security minister’s advisor Bob Mhlanga who was suspended last week was part of the South African militaryÔÇôindustrial complex that had been mobilised to help topple President Masisi.

Shortly before he was suspended, Mhlanga on Wednesday May 15th between 4 and 7 pm met Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe and her side-kick Malcolm X at So Yum Restaurant in Hyde Park, Johannesburg where the plan to unseat Masisi was discussed.

Mhlanga who was meeting Motsepe-Radebe and Malcolm X for the first time introduced himself as a General within the State Security Agency, but his business card presented him as Director: Domestic Branch. Motsepe-Radebe and Malcolm X briefed him on the political situation in Botswana, after which he pledged to help Motsepe-Radebe and Khama in every way going forward. The meeting agreed that Mhlanga should meet Khama two days later on Friday May 17th around Lansaria Airport.

Sunday Standard investigations have further revealed that Mhlanga was referred to Motsepe-Radebe by State Security Agency’s former Director General Gibson Njenje to help Khama’s campaign against Masisi. Njenje had met Motsepe ÔÇôRadebe and Malcolm X earlier where he advised them about “Botswana’s very sophisticated intelligence services” and that they should not take the DIS for granted. The Sunday Standard can further reveal that Njenje advised Motsepe-Radebe to back off Botswana politics. Njenje was fired from the South African State Security Agency three weeks ago.

Both Njenje and Mhlanga were fired from the agency during former President Thabo Mbeki’s era but were brought back by his successor Jacob Zuma. While it is believed that the Botswana government may have complained to South Africa about the pair’s relationship with Motsepe-Radebe, speculation in the South African media is that the current moves against them were based on suspicions that they were still loyal to former president Zuma.
Njenje and Mhlanga were in 2005 suspended alongside the then South African Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director General Billie Masethla for allegedly spying on Saki Macozoma, a businessman with the African National Congress (ANC).

Although Masethla does not feature in the current campaign to topple President, the Sunday Standard can reveal that he had close business links with Paul Langa and Lazarus Mbethe who are directors in Avante Security Services Botswana, the company suspected of helping Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe to topple President Masisi.
Mbethe, Langa and Masethla were all named in a 2013 scandal in which South African military involvement in the Central African Republic was exposed as a front for ANC-linked deals.

According to the Mail & Guardian, Mbethe, Langa and Masetlha were directors in a company called Baga┬¡moyo which was set up to exploit opportunities in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The team initiated several business projects in the Central African Republic some involving diamonds.

The Mail & Guardian further revealed that Langa, Mbethe and Masetlha, appear as directors in two other shelf companies, Evening Star Trading 665 and Universal Pulse Trading 117, both set up in November 2006.

Their business dealings in the Central African Republic (CAR) bombed into a big scandal after a number of South African peace keeping soldiers were killed during the operation.
Avante Security bank accounts in Botswana were earlier this year frozen on suspicion that the security company was being used to launder Motsepe-Radebe’s money into Botswana.

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