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Crime Intelligence to investigate ‘bugging’ of News24 journalist

Lieutenant-General Yolisa Mokgabudi, the acting head of CI.

Lieutenant-General Yolisa Mokgabudi, the acting head of CI.

  • Crime Intelligence acting head Lieutenant-General Yolisa Mokgabudi says she has requested an investigation into allegations a News24 journalist was illegally bugged. 
  • The decision follows letters from News24’s lawyer to CI requesting all illegal surveillance to cease immediately. 
  • Investigative journalist Jeff Wicks received reliable information he was the subject of ongoing interception and surveillance operations by CI officials to establish his sources. 

An investigation has been requested into the potentially illegal surveillance and monitoring of a News24 journalist by Crime Intelligence (CI) officials.

READ | Rogue Crime Intelligence cops ‘bug’ News24 investigative journalist

In a letter addressed to News24’s lawyer, Willem de Klerk, on Wednesday, the acting head of CI, Lieutenant-General Yolisa Mokgabudi, said she had requested an investigation into allegations officials had illegally bugged News24 investigative journalist Jeff Wicks.

This follows a call from News24 to CI to cease the illegal surveillance of Wicks immediately. The publication also requested an investigation to establish the extent of the unlawful surveillance.

ALSO READ | ‘Bugging’ of News24 journalist receives attention of Inspector-General of Intelligence, RICA judge

Wicks has been at the forefront of covering ructions within the police and the fallout in CI following Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinner’s murder.

It is believed the operation was launched in a bid to establish Wick’s sources through the use of a “grabber” – a device which can track and trace cellphones.

Bess Nkabinde, the designated judge charged with authorising legal interceptions in terms of the Regulation of Interception and Communication Act (RICA), said she had not received nor granted any authorisation for the use of such a device for interception purposes.

“The relevant oversight authority – SAPS [Crime Intelligence Division] – is better placed to address the concerns raised,” Nkabinde added.

Concern for Wicks’ safety and privacy grew when he was followed after leaving his home, while three independent sources, two with direct knowledge of operations in CI, confirmed the existence of the surveillance operation.

Last month, CI told News24 it “does not conduct illegal interceptions of communications” but did not confirm or deny the existence of a surveillance operation against Wicks.

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