Defense Minister Joe Modise has inherited a covert intelligence-gathering unit—the Directorate of Covert Collection—riddled with dirty tricks operatives from the total onslaught era.
Last week Modise moved to interdict the Mail & Guardian from publishing further details about the workings of the DCC, which was partially purged after being raided by Mr Justice R Goldstone in late 1992. Since last week Modise has improved on his technique in dealing with the press.
When the M&G asked the military to confirm that 62 people had been members of the DCC he both responded to our request and called a press conference on Thursday after the newspaper’s deadline. A long-term investigation has established that:
- The DCC’s director is Brigadier Horace William Doncaster, alleged former head of the Johannesburg City Council spy ring.
- Second in command Colonel Gerry Borman was the handler of former CCB Transvaal chief Staal Burger.
- Two of its operatives were still collecting information on the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress as late as March this year.
- The DCC contains former Rhodesian security agents, one of whom worked for the South African Military Intelligence unit responsible for running Renamo and Unita.
- One of its key front companies, Pan Afrik Industrial Investment Consultants (PAIIC), is apparently still operating, despite South African Defence Force assurances a year ago that it was being de-registered.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said the company was currently in the final stages of being wound up, but did not explain the delay. The Goldstone raid unmasked the DDC head office front company Africa Risk Analysts Consultancy (Pty) Ltd (Arac).
A year later the M&G exposed PAIIC, which was used to employ 62 DCC members. As happened with the military’s now-disbanded Civil Co-operation Bureau, these people were ordered to “resign” from the SADFand work for PAIIC so that their connection with the SADF would be hidden. About 20 former CCB members were hired by PAIIC. This enabled the 62 to operate within South Africa’s borders, which was not part of their brief as MI agents.
PAIIC catered only for those operating within South Africa Operatives based outside the country would have fallen under other front companies which are still unknown.The use offront companies was an officially authorised strategy. Former DCC member Jan Anton Nieuwoudt stated in court documents filed during 1993 that he joined PAIIC on the orders of General Joep Joubert, General Witkop Badenhorst and Brigadier Tolletjie Botha.
Immediately after the Goldstone raid then-president FW de Klerk announced that 23 officers had been suspended from duties and might face charges in relation to criminal activities. Despite promises by De Klerk, few further details were revealed and the 23—about half of whom have never been named, despite De Klerk’s assurances that they would be-simply lost their jobs and dropped out of sight.
The results of inquiries by both General Pierre Steyn and Judge Goldstone into DCC were never made public nor handed to the attorney-general’s office. Nobody from the organisation was ever charged. At least two former DCC members, Nieuwoudt and Commander Jack Widdowson, sued the SADF for unfair dismissal and won substantial settlements. Some have quietly been given their jobs back.
A group of 23 of the PAIIC members are appealing to President Nelson Mandela to clear their names. It was the representatives of this group, Gerhard Jansen van Rensburg and Clive Brink, that Modise briefly interdicted from speaking to the press. Van Rensburg and Brink have emphasised that their aim was never to expose either their fellow officers or their sources as Modise claimed in the interdict.
“Contrary to the allegations contained in the SANDF’s application for the interdict we have not revealed the names or identifies of sources, collaborators or informers of former colleagues, neither is it our intention to do so now, or in the future.” said the PAIIC group. “We joked about contacting our old sources (now) in senior positions and asking them for jobs, but decided against it because it.s an issue that needs to be dealt with bythe new government,” said PAIIC group member Wally Wilsenach this week.
“We are not prepared to sacrifice them for our own selfish gain.” As Wilsenach was not affected by the gag, he was able to talk to the press. He also emphasised that he would not identify colleagues. The PAIIC group believes their dismissal points to a conflict between intelligence agencies within the country. They allege that the Counter-Intelligence directorate identified them as a way of shifting attention from themselves.
Wilsenach claimed Counter-intelligence had information about DCC members’ links with Ml6 and Zimbabwean CIO as well as information about illicit diamond deals and fraud. The Defence Force has restricted access to the public files on Arac and PAIIC—a restriction which still seems to be in force. More ominously, PAIIC appears to be operating despite official SADF claims that it closed down in February 1993.
Goldstone found that Arac was set up in 1988 with the sole director an Eric Johan Pelser. The address Pelser gave turned out to be false. A public register indicates that PAllC was set up in January 1986 with the sole member a Ernst John Penzhorn, a name interestingly similar to that of Ame’s director.
This week Penzhorn, a Pretoria lawyer, denied having any links to the Defence Force or any of its front companies. He said his legal firm had registered PAIIC during the 1980s: “If I am indicated as a director/member it could have been for purposes of initial registration only, as often happens, whereafter the interest in the company or cc is transferred after registration,” he said, adding that he could not say whether PAIIC was still in business.
The public records clearly indicate that, although the PAIIC file is restricted, the corporation is still in business. Penzhorn is also named on public records as linked to Ml front Global Capital Investments cc, which was finally deregistered in 1992. Penzhorn says he sold Global Capital Investments as a dormant company during the 19805 and no longer had any interest in it.
Covert Collection employees In a major blow for openness this week, the Mail & Guardian forced the South African National Defence Force to confirm the names of members of the shadowy Directorate of Covert Collection. The WM&G sent the military a list of 62 individuals with the request that they should reveal theft present and past relationship with the DCC.
Yesterday the SANDF confirmed that 11 were still working for DCC and that 36 others had been employees. In court papers justifying the interdict against the WM&G Veiner General Georg Heiring last week cited the need to protect the identify of intelligence operatives. The following are DCC members:
- Director Brigadier Horace William Doncaster, who once allegedly headed the Johannesburg City Council spy ring.
- Second in command Colonel Gerrie Borman. the senior staff officer for the East Front, which includes Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
- Pat Keyser, SSO West Front—Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zaire and Zambia. Keyser was formerly with the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation which initiated Renamo. He moved to SADF MI’s Directorate of Special Tasks, responsible for running Renamo in Mozambique and Unita in Angola, and later to DCC.
- Colonel Gert Pretorius, SSO Foreign Intelligence Services, whose job is to identify threats from foreign intelligence agencies.
- John Maudsley, now believed to be running Internal Collection.
- Sandra Nolan.
- Leon Nefdt
- Terry Scallan, based in the Eastern Cape.
- Lieb Venter
Also understood to be in the DCC’s employ is Henri van der Westhuizen, responsible for intelligence on the ANC until March this year.After the WM&G sents DCC members to the military this week, Van der Westhuizen assaulted a former SADF officer he believed to be one of our sources. Past employees of the DCC:
- Brigadier Tolletjie Botha, former DCC director who lost his job after the Goldstone raid.
- Colonel At Nel, one of Botha’s deputies, who also lost his job.
- Jean Blignaut.
- Ferdi Barnard, the former CCB member hired by DCC between May and December 1991.
- Warrant Officer Clive Brink, who once worked in Ciskei for Military Intelligence front organisation International Researchers /Ciskei Intelligence Services, whose task was to prop up the Gqozo regime.
- Lucas Delport, now possibly working as a diplomat.
- Jose D’Oliviera an Angolan Portuguese who ran the DCC field office in Rundu, Namibia and was allegedly an ivory smuggler.
- Pamela du Randt, arrested by British police while allegedly on a mission to kill Dirk Coetzee.
- Leon Flores, arrested along with Du Randt.
- Tony Oosthuizen, who until March was responsible for intelligence on the PAC.
- Mickey Geletti.
- Deon Gerber.
- Gerhard Jansen van Rensburg lost his job after the Goldstone raid.
- Koos Louw, now a naval commander in Saldanha.
- Alec West, ex-Rhodesian CIO, Colin Evans and Albie Botha, all rehired after the Goldstone raid.
- Leon Nefdt.
- Jan Anton Nieuwoudt, who trained Inkatha members at the Caprivi Strip in the 1980s and later ran the International Researchers /Ciskei Intelligence Services operation in Ciskei for DCC. He won a R220 000 payout from the SADF shortly before the elections.
- Sandra Nolan, the administrative officer responsible for running key front companies.
- JP Opperman, now based in the Durban field office.
- Eugene Riley, who was recruited to DCC by Ferdi Bernanf. He died under mysterious circumstances.
- Jim Ross, who moved on to track down illegal diamond dealers for Anglo American Corporation.
- An Askari formerly employed by Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock, Chris Makgopa. Another Askari hired by DCC, Glory “September Sedibe, died mysteriouysly.
- Stephan Snyders, who was accused of criminal activities after the Goldstone raid and lost his job.
- Philip Steenkamp.
- Rick Verster, who was accused of criminal activities after the Goldstone raid and lost his job.
- Wally Wilsenach, who lost his job after the Goldstone raid.
Amy Intelligence members were also attached to DCC.