The inter-agency sparring for supremacy between DCEC and DISS is escalating as fault lines divide agents at both institutions into Katlholo loyalists who are wary of a new pro-establishment guard that is eager to make its presence felt
The controversy over who investigates who for corruption has vaulted the rivalry between DISS and DCEC into one of the oldest back-fence feuds in the nation’s capital outside the bounds of conventional controversy.
Like the troubled Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS), the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) seems to be right on the verge of breaking into two rivalling camps owing to what some officials perceive as loyalty to the suspended director, Tymon Katlholo.
According to Katlholo loyalists, working for DCEC has been a living hell since the suspension of the director earlier this month. The suspension was seen by observers as a move to pave the way for pro-establishment senior officers to take charge.
“We are ill-treated for having backed the suspended director and are always viewed with suspicion,” said source in the pro-Katlholo camp. “Where we have been questioned, we have always reiterated our abiding commitment to support any leadership of the day. Our support was not extended to Katlholo as a person but the institution through its head.”
The anonymous source said they are often called names like moles, Katlholo loyalists and agents of darkness. “The DCEC is breaking apart into two inimical camps like the DISS,” the source continued. “Instead of uniting us, the new management is dividing us further.”
When he assumed the top post at DISS, Brigadier Peter Magosi embarked on an exercise to purge the secret service of those he deemed his predecessor’s loyalists. But the move backfired and DISS became a decidedly divided house. Observers say DCEC may also be going in a similar direction.
Katlholo, who is still fighting for the DCEC’s independence from what he has described as DISS interference, was suspended on 2nd June 2022 and replaced by Tshepo Pilane on an acting basis. It is understood that a good number of DCEC officers still believe in Katlholo’s cause.
One DCEC officer, Tsholofelo Bareetsi, was recently arrested by DISS following his decision to file a supporting affidavit for Katlholo who successfully interdicted DISS against seizing corruption investigation files involving the top brass at DISS. The files have since been committed to the Chief Registrar of the High Court for safe-keeping.
The DCEC spokesperson, Lentswe Motshoganetsi, had not responded to Gazette questions at the time of going to press.