Security Watch

Capture of South Africa’s security structures is well advanced


The biggest threat to South Africa’s democracy does not come from ‘Gupta capture’ of state resource, but capture of its state security establishment from within the governing ANC.

While much of public attention has been captivated by revelations of how the Zuma-associated Gupta network established a grip on revenue flows from the state, and its institutions, a much more disturbing and dangerous process on the security front has developed under the radar.

It is well developed and is starting to show frightening similarities to patterns seen in Zimbabwe and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The spearhead of this capture is the African National Congress’ Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA). And, that it stretches wider that just legitimate ‘veterans.’ It is illustrated by the fact that at recent public actions by them many of their ‘members’ involved, were way too young to have been ‘struggle-days veterans.’

More important, however, one of the occasions when this happened was the disruption of a legal, and peaceful protest march by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), in Johannesburg.

This development, in the wider context of the capture of the security establishment, might have very serious implications for truly free and fair elections in 2019. Especially so, with the increasing dangers for the ANC that it might lose those elections.

It is reminiscent of the way Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF has been using ‘veterans’ and youth militias to not only intimidate opposition parties, but also for militant actions like removing white farmers from their land.

One of the dots that might just be joined in this developing picture is the fact that both the MKMVA and the ANC Youth League were amongst those ANC formations which, at the just held party national policy conference, pushed for land expropriation without compensation.

Coming for some time

The drive to capture the country’s security establishment has been developing for some time.

The chairman of the MKMVA, Kebby Maphatsoe, who is also the deputy minister of Defence, has been for some time now, in collaboration with police minister Fikile Mbalula, in the process of fast tracking the promotion of MKMVA members in the SA police Service (SAPS) to senior commanding ranks.

But even before this process started, MKMVA members were already dominating the top management of not only the South African Police Service, but also the Special Investigative Unit (Hawks), the Crime Intelligence Unit, and the National Defence Force – including its head, General S Shoke.

Private security sector

However, the MKMVA, is not satisfied to just lay their hands on the state security industry.

At the policy conference the MKMVA again campaigned for the creation of a state-owned security agency to replace private security guarding national key points. The aim being the deployment of thousands of their own members.

A piece of legislation aimed at limiting, and eventually eliminating private security companies in the country, the   Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, has been on President Zuma’s desk for signing since 2014.

If becoming law, it would require foreign-owned private security firms – including international reputable companies like ADT and Chubb – to sell off at least 51% of their shares to South African citizens, and it is in this, that the MKMVA foresees an advantage for its cadres.

Such a scenario would, if implemented, give MKMVA a huge pool of manpower to pull on in their recently self-assumed task to defend the ANC, its leaders, and its headquarters, Luthuli House.

The scope of what is at stake, and the scale of the potential benefit/s for the MKMVA, becomes clear when considering that according to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) its members employ (2013/14 figures) about 500 000 security officers compared to 194 852 people by the SAPS.

They also want to operate as a support formation for the SAPS, SANDF and other security services.

Looking ahead

Frans Cronjé, CEO of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), in a just published book about scenario for the country by 2030, in his second scenario, which he calls “the tyranny of the left,” paints a picture of an ANC that, amongst other becoming increasingly repressive and anti-democratic. It is the Zimbabwean road to tyranny.

Addressing the Cape Town Press Club he said a rapacious, determined leadership, such as South Africa currently has, could demolish the country’s democratic institutions inside of a year. South Africa’s Constitutional protections are far more fragile than most people would like to believe.

The developments, and plans, surrounding the veterans show ominous similarities to what happened in Venezuela under former President Hugo Chavez.

There, a second political-affiliated security structure, besides the state’s own developed. Called the National Bolivarian Militia of Venezuela, it functioned as a branch of the official armed forces, employing hundreds of thousands of members.

Their often violent, operations covered, and still does, almost all spheres of civil society – disrupting anti-government protest actions by the population. They are also reported to have become involved with crime syndicates.

Considering MK’s reputation, stretching back to the struggle days, of often ill-discipline, there is reason to fear that these developments could lead to Venezuelan-type anarchy.

And, just to muddle matters further, the Gupta network is involved in creating an own private intelligence structure – a subject we will explore in more detail in our next edition.

by Intelligence Bulletin Team

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