Zuma Zondo

Image via: flickr

‘Report’ Jacob Zuma used to axe Gordhan & Jonas may not exist

The inspector-general of intelligence (IGI) Isaac Dintwe has told the State Capture Commission that Jacob Zuma said he’d give clarity, at the right time

Zuma Zondo

Image via: flickr

Remember the “intelligence report” which formed the basis of former president Jacob Zuma firing then finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, in March 2017, during one of his most memorable cabinet reshuffles? Well, it may not exist after all as three years later, the veracity of the report and its origin remain a mystery.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Isaac Dintwe, took the stand at the State Capture Commission on Wednesday evening, 21 April 2021.

Dintwe had been roped in to look into the source and authenticity of the report after several complaints were laid with him, including by the Democratic Alliance (DA). As part of his work, he then met with Zuma, who then suggested there may not even be such a report.

“He (Zuma) said that he is hearing people talking about an intelligence report and that that report may be none-existent because as a president sometimes gets verbal briefings,” Dintwe told the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Raymond Zondo.

Zuma failed to produce the ‘intelligence report’

Dintwe said Jacob Zuma appeared to be the only in possession of the alleged report. He said he requested the report from Zuma, but all the then president told him was that he would give clarity on the matter, when the time is right.

Eventually, Dintwe nor Zuma for that matter, could prove the veracity of the alleged report.

“My finding was that I could not reach a finding because I did not have any document that could verify its authenticity and its origin”

Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI) Isaac Dintwe

“The modus operandi is that they besmirch you, you suffer the consequences and then there is nothing that actually implicates. They even go to the extent of saying it was a wrong alarm bell but by that time, for instance, the two people were out of their positions.”

In March 2017, Zuma recalled Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from their investment road trips in London and New York respectively, ahead of the reshuffle. At the time, the Presidency, which confirmed they would be returning to South Africa, did not give reasons.

It would then be learnt that Zuma presented members of the ANC top six (Cyril Ramaphosa, Jessie Duarte, Zweli Mkhize, Gwede Mantashe and Baleka Mbete) with the intelligence report.

The decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas, based on that report, didn’t sit well with the top six, most notably Mantashe and Ramaphosa.