South African spy chiefs fired as political turmoil deepens

Moe Shaik

Moe Shaik

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The heads of South Africa’s three major intelligence departments have become the latest casualties in a major political battle waging within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which threatens to engulf the entire country. Several South African news outlets report that Siyabonga Cwele, the country’s Minister for State Security, summarily fired the three senior intelligence officials late last week, after a major row over providing government protection for his wife, who has been convicted of drugs smuggling. The three officials, who have stepped down, are Jeff Maqetuka, Director of the State Security Agency (SSA), and Gibson Njenje and Moe Shaik, respective heads of the SSA’s domestic and external intelligence services. According to press reports, the three officials unanimously objected to Cwele’s order to provide his wife Sheryl with secret service protection during her May 2011 trial for drugs smuggling, in which she was sentenced to 12 years in prison. But there are signs that Sheryl Cwele’s case was simply the last drop, which came on top a series of turf wars and bureaucratic conflicts between various factions of the ANC. Specifically, there is speculation in South African intelligence circles that Gibson Njenje resigned partly in protest against so-called “unauthorized operations”, namely telecommunications and physical surveillance of ANC cabinet ministers. The surveillance operations are reportedly being conducted in preparation for a showdown between rival ANC factions in December of 2013. At that time, ANC President Jacob Zuma is expected to face off the party’s Youth League leader, Julius Malema. The latter, favored by an increasingly disaffected segment of the ANC’s working class supporters, is seen as representing the radical populist wing of the party. Read more of this post

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South African spy chief had secret US talks, embassy cable reveals

Moe Shaik

Moe Shaik

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
South Africa’s spy chief regularly gave the American embassy in Pretoria detailed information on internal African National Congress (ANC) politics, according to a diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks. The cable, entitled “Zuma Advisor Threatens to Expose Political Skeletons”, was authored on September 10 2008 by the embassy and communicated to several recipients, including the State Department, CIA, and the National Security Council. It reveals that Moe Shaik, who heads the South African Secret Service (SASS), the country’s external intelligence agency, met regularly with an unnamed political officer of the US embassy and “always share[d] insights into the motivations and strategies of the Zuma camp”. The reference is to Jacob Zuma, President of the governing ANC, who assumed the organization’s leadership in May of 2009, after a bitter internal party struggle. Several months prior to Zuma’s election as ANC’s President, the organization’s rival faction, which was loyal to Thabo Mbeki, attempted to challenge Zuma’s eligibility by leveling corruption charges against him. Read more of this post

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Analysis: Major spy overhaul underway in South Africa

Moe Shaik

Moe Shaik

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
In July, Laurie Nathan, a former member of South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence, warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in South Africa’s spy services was threatening the country’s constitutional order. Last week, based on the Commission’s findings and policy suggestions, the country’s minster for state security, Siyabonga Cwele, announced a “major restructuring” of South Africa’s security services. Already, the first generation of pro-ANC intelligence agents, who staffed the post-apartheid South African intelligence apparatus, is on its way out. The departures of Manana Manzini, who until recently directed the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Loyiso Jafta, of the National Communications Centre, and Taki Netshitenzhe of the Electronic Communications Security, were accentuated by the retirement of ANC “superspy” Hilton Tim Dennis, who headed for many years the NIA’s Counter Espionage unit. Read more of this post

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  • Who killed London Times reported David Holden, in 1977, and what was the involvement of American, British and Egyptian intelligence services in the mysterious case?
  • Iran denies bodyguard’s arrest on spying charges. Iranian authorities deny earlier reports that a man belonging to a “senior official security squad” was arrested on suspicion of “espionage and anti-security activities”.
  • Profile of South Africa’s next spy chief. Moe Shaik, former member of ANC’s intelligence wing and a close friend of South African President Jacob Zuma will most likely head the country’s spy services. During ANC’s underground period, he was involved in Operation VULA, which involved smuggling large quantities of weapons into South Africa. He will be heading the nation’s intelligence establishment during one of the most challenging periods in its history.