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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Civil war continues in South African spy agency

Arthur Fraser

Arthur Fraser

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In July of last year, South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in South Africa’s spy services threatened the country’s constitutional order. In October, the government’s minster for state security, Siyabonga Cwele, cited the Commission’s findings and policy suggestions in announcing a “major restructuring” of South Africa’s security services. Several months later, the “restructuring” process resembles a major civil war between rival political factions of the African National Congress. An entire generation of pro-ANC intelligence officials, who staffed the post-apartheid South African intelligence apparatus, has already been purged. The wave of purges was completed with the resignation this past week of Arthur Fraser, until recently director of the South African National Intelligence Agency’s Operations Division. Read more of this post

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

South African spy chief’s wife implicated in drugs arrest

Sheryl Cwele

Sheryl Cwele

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
The wife of Siyabonga C. Cwele, South Africa’s Minister of Intelligence, has been implicated by South African and Brazilian authorities in an international drugs trafficking case. Sheryl Cwele, whose husband has headed South Africa’s intelligence Ministry since last September, was found to have exchanged dozens of emails, letters and text messages with a woman arrested last June in Brazil, while secretly transporting over $300,000-worth of raw cocaine. The woman, Tessa Beetge, from Margate, a resort town in KwaZulu-Natal, traveled last summer from South Africa to Colombia and Peru, and from there to São Paulo, Brazil, where she was arrested on June 13, while transiting through on a flight to Johannesburg. Read more of this post