Zondo commission hears how SSA infiltrated media, bribed journalists

Zondo commission hears how SSA infiltrated media, bribed journalists

The commission of inquiry into state capture has heard how several journalists, including those working for African News Agency (ANA), were allegedly paid millions of rands as part of a bribery operation by the State Security Agency (SSA).

Paul Pretorius

On Friday, a witness known only as ‘Ms. K’ and who is an investigator at the agency, continued her testimony.


She told the commission that their investigation found evidence of at least R48 million was paid from the SSA under ‘Project Wave’.


Wave's purpose was to bribe media houses and journalists to counter negative publicity against former president Jacob Zuma.


It was part of a series of unlawful projects operated at the SSA when Zuma was in office.


"There is evidence in the bundle that individuals within the media received money as part of Project Wave. That evidence in its detail I would prefer to consider and place before the chair at a later stage once we have considered it important and what we need to do to follow the rules," said evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius.


A Rule 33 notice, which notifies those who are to be implicated by a witness, will have to be sent out before the journalists can be named.

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Ms. K said operatives they interviewed told them that some media sources were too expensive, while others refused to cooperate.


Earlier this week, it was revealed to the commission that African News Agency (ANA) was allegedly paid R20 million from Project Wave and rendered its services for six months.


ANA is part of the Independent Media Group and is owned by Iqbal Survé.


Ms. K said they found the paper trail. 


"There are two separate invoices of R10 million each and, they are dated March and June 2016. The invoices are addressed for the attention of Mr (Thulani) Dlomo but the invoices were only paid in January 2017. What I note that here is the signature for the authorisation of payment by former SSA director-general Arthur Fraser.”


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