Photo: Nico de Wet / Twitter

Who, or where, is Thulani Dlomo? Zuma’s “top spy” missing since January

Like all good spies, Thulani Dlomo is proving hard to trace. But he’s got a lot of questions to answer about state capture and his relationship with Jacob Zuma.


Photo: Nico de Wet / Twitter

A row is brewing over the exact whereabouts of Thulani Dlomo. The former State Security Agency (SSA) chief – who enjoyed a close and often corrupted working relationship with Jacob Zuma – has not been heard from in an official capacity for most of 2019. Now, political opponents are starting to ask some difficult questions.

Dlomo, like everyone else who operated within Zuma’s inner circle, is accused of playing a significant role in state capture. It’s alleged he created a “parallel branch” of the SSA to log the personal interests of Msholozi. He was a key ally for the 77-year-old, and when President Ramaphosa recalled him from an ambassadorial position in Japan, it seemed the game was up.

A top spy for Jacob Zuma, and man in hiding from Cyril Ramaphosa

However, more fool us for expecting him to play by the rules. Thulani Dlomo has been “missing in action” for the last eight months. Some reports say he still has a job at SSA, but others claim he’s keeping a low profile. Darren Bergman, the DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, says he and his party want to get to the bottom of this fiasco:

“We have written to the Ministers of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo, and International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Naledi Pandor, to urgently answer on the whereabouts of former President Jacob Zuma’s former ally and top spy, Thulani Dlomo. He is facing a myriad of state capture allegations.”

“The public requires clarity on Dlomo’s whereabouts and whether he is currently in the employ of the state. It cannot be that an individual with such close ties to State Capture and the manipulation of the state machinery could potentially be living off the public’s money, while evading accountability.”

Darren Bergman

Who is Thulani Dlomo?

A quick glance at Dlomo’s recent employment history summarises why he’s gone AWOL. Without Jacob Zuma to hide behind, it seems the public official has a lot to answer for:

  • Dlomo served as Head of Security for KZN’s Social Development Department in 2012 – he soon resigned, after it was found he pocketed R1 million in tender kickbacks.
  • He then moved on to the SSA as the head of their Special Operations unit, where he was accused of “frequent illegal activities”.
  • During his time as deputy director-general for counterintelligence in the domestic branch of the SSA, he reportedly targeted Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC leadership campaign by “bugging” his phone.
  • Thulani Dlomo was then deployed as the Ambassador to Japan, only to be recalled in January of this year. He’s not been heard from since.

Bergman is now battling to uncover the truth. His letter to the ANC representatives will ask if Thulani Dlomo is still working for the government, and therefore, earning his keep via the taxpayers’ tab. The shadow minister wants to know what job title he still holds, and if any colleagues know where Dlomo is holed-up.