Johannesburg: Former South African
President Nelson Mandela`s home was bugged during a tumultuous
period for his African National Congress party, a prominent
labour leader said on Thursday.
Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress
of South African Trade Unions, said Mandela told him that
listening devices were placed in his Johannesburg home, where
ANC leaders would come seeking his advice.
"Yes, a bug was found in his place," Vavi said. "We
know that as a matter of fact, because we had ... discussions
with him (Mandela)."
Mandela`s house was bugged in 2007 during the
buildup to an ANC conference at which President Jacob Zuma
ousted his predecessor as ANC head, Vavi said. Factions within
the ANC were believed to have spied on each other during those
Mandela`s office did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. The anti-apartheid icon`s grandson,
Mandla Mandela, who is a member of parliament, said he could
not comment because he had no knowledge of the matter.
ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu also said he had no
knowledge of the matter, but that the ANC would look with
concern on such an invasion of anyone`s home, "particularly
the house of a leader."
Vavi called 2007 "a period of fear" within the ANC,
and said he was bringing up the bugging now because of
concerns shady tactics and vicious rivalries had not been
abandoned. Vavi`s COSATU is a key supporter of the ANC, but
also has been a frequent critic.
Today, Vavi presented the results of high-level
COSATU deliberations that concluded, "We are headed in the
direction of a full-blown predator state, in which a powerful,
corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas increasingly
controls the state ..."