The State Security Agency has become an “employment agency” for the children of senior ministers and political figures with the “right connections”, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
The report states that, according to documents seen by the newspaper, several children of high-ranking ANC members – including Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete – were recruited to the agency’s intelligence academy after it opened in 2003.
The agency is currently under investigation by the Department of State Security’s internal auditors for exorbitant increases given to some employees, according to the report.
A source who spoke to the newspaper said the “children of the known” were picked for the agency’s academy, with no recruitment process taking place.
“It’s a club of the connected,” said an employee to the newspaper.
He said the “connected” recruits were deployed to “cushy posts with high salaries” once their training was over, while “ordinary citizens” who joined the agency were given low-paying jobs such as security guards.
According to the report, salary increases received by 82 spies added R9.7 million to the agency’s salary bill in recent times.
The auditors’ report, which the newspaper refers to as confidential, found that the salary increases were not approved through the proper channels.
Mbete declined to comment about her son’s position in with the agency, while Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokeswoman said her employer would not comment.
“However, I can confirm that [the minister’s son] doesn’t work for state security,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.
State security spokesperson Brian Dube said the children of ministers were in the agency’s employment, but that the “institution was open to all”.
“The academy is open to all South Africans. Its recruitment and screening processes are rigorous. The perception that it is the preserve of those in power and government is not only incorrect, but it’s also not backed by factual data,” said Dube to the newspaper.
Dube did confirm that an internal investigation in the agency had found “discrepancies” in promotions that had taken place.
The Sunday Times report follows the recent revelation that President Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Thuthukile, was recently appointed as chief of staff at the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
At 25, she now earns almost a million rand a year.