I did not leak Kate Zuma’s suicide note: Chikane

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Inspector-General of Intelligence nominee the Reverend Frank Chikane has told Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence that he did not leak the suicide note of former President Jacob Zuma’s wife Kate.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Member of the Committee Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked Chikane on Tuesday night during an interview for the position of Inspector-General of Intelligence.

Chikane is one of the listed ten candidates for the position. Four other nominees were already interviewed before him. The position will become vacant when the five-year term of outgoing Inspector- General Setlhomamaru Dintwe who has also been shortlisted, ends on March 31, 2022.

VIDEO: Ten candidates shortlisted for Inspector-General of Intelligence position:

Chikane started by explaining the circumstances around Kate Zuma’s suicide when he answered Ndlozi.

“No Ntate Ndlozi, I have written about it, I have done press conferences about it. It’s on record. There was no leaked document. You know, President Zuma, historically a friend of the family, – when I looked for my brother who was away in exile for more than ten years and we couldn’t find him because I was under surveillance. When I became General Secretary I said to the organisation, I want to see my brother. The person who brought my brother is comrade Zuma in Harare. And when Komati happened, they removed him and my brother was infiltrated and so we don’t have an enemy relationship.”

Chikane reveals that he spoke to Kate before the suicide

“The reality is Chair if I can say it again the reality is Mama Kate decided to commit suicide but called me before she died. And I said I’m in a meeting, I’ll come in there during lunch, she said you’ll find me dead. So I stopped the meeting and went there. And she got the child to pull out the suicide note to give it to me. And now the police investigate. You can’t hide a suicide note. So, they were investigating Deputy President Zuma. So I said to him comrade, why do you let the police investigate, I mean this is a suicide case, let’s give them the letter. I got it you know, – and there are(were) witnesses when I got it, so it’s not a secret. And so we agreed and so I did. There was no leaked letter. Then because you do a post-mortem, that letter will be part of the documents. Then it goes public and those who want to campaign against you say you leaked the document. How do you leak a document through an inquest and as you know the son tried to get into this thing and you remember my answer (was) ask you father, you know, because your father knows exactly what happened. And in the funeral, I didn’t give details because I couldn’t, but I have the suicide note”.

Chikane warned of the sensitivity of the incident, describing it as painful.

“This is a sensitive matter that’s so painful. It’s so painful and it gets repeated all over again when you are past it. But we (are) just resuscitating it, it causes pain for the children, – even those who were too young to talk about it, – but Ma Kate chose to give me the note and (s)he sent the son to pull it out of the drawer to give me, and she was not alive by the time she reached the hospital” says Chikane.

Zuma administration

On another question about the politicisation of the Intelligence Services, Chikane also told the committee that corruption started before the Zuma administration. He says he raised his concerns in a letter to the late former President Nelson Mandela.

Chikane was also questioned by Ndlozi who told him that the politicisation of the Intelligence Services dates before 2007. Ndlozi told Chikane that the Intelligence even failed to detect the xenophobic violence that broke out in South Africa in 2008.

In his response Chikane says, “ I’m sure many people would have heard me. I’ve said corruption started before Zuma. I’ve said so. Former President Zuma. I’m the person who wrote a letter to Madiba two years after I went in there and said the old is corrupting the new as an insurance from them not to be charged. That letter is there with Mandela. I’ve not said that failures are related to a particular person. I’m saying failures are related to people who have no respect for the Constitution and the law. And once they don’t respect the law they do whatever they want to do and we need to stop that.”

‘Not looking for a job’

He told the Intelligence Committee that he is not looking for a job but to contribute to the country if he is needed.

“People who asked me to come back to government, I said no I won’t come back to government. The only time I’ll will come back is if I am needed and if there’s a task to be done and I’ll go and do it. So if the committee thinks I am the right person to do it, I will go and do it. But I am not looking for a job, so it’s not like I’m in trouble. I am not in trouble actually. And so, it will be a task I have to do because the nations thinks that I can help. If the nation doesn’t need it, I am fine. Actually, I don’t want to compete with other people. It will be if you think we should do it,” stressed Chikane.

The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence is expected to interview the remaining candidates on Wednesday. The successful nominees will be expected to resume office after March 31.

This is dependent on a resolution passed by the National Assembly. Section 210 (b) of the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in the National Assembly before an Inspector-General of Intelligence can be appointed by the President. Some of the key roles of the Office of the Inspector-General and its head are outlined in the Intelligence Oversight Act.

The major responsibility of the Inspector-General is to play a watchdog role. Some of the responsibilities include monitoring intelligence and counter intelligence activities of the State Security Agency and intelligence divisions of the South African Police Services and the South African National Defence Force. The Act also requires the Inspector-General to be accountable to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and responsible to the President and relevant Ministries.

In the video below,  Chikane elaborates on his vision for SA Intelligence:

Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), Jerome Joseph Maake, is being interviewed: