Manzini confirmed as new NIA head

President Thabo Mbeki has appointed Manala Manzini as Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) with immediate effect.

The appointment is in accordance with the Constitution and the Intelligence Services Act, and for a three-year term, government communications head Joel Netshitenzhe said in a media statement.

Manzini had been the acting head of NIA for the past few months.

“The president and Cabinet wish Mr Manzini well in his new position, and they are confident that he will acquit himself with distinction in the professional service of our country and its people,” Netshitenzhe said.

Mbeki terminated former head of the NIA Billy Masetlha’s services on Wednesday of last week. A day later the Inspector General (IG) of Intelligence, Zolile Ngcakani, implicated Masetlha in the hoax e-mail saga that has rocked the NIA.

Masetlha’s attorney, Imran Haffajee, indicated earlier in the week that he would be contesting his dismissal.

Haffajee said that Masetlha was not fired but that Mbeki amended his “terms of office”.

“It is these terms of office that we would ask the Pretoria High Court to rule on,” Haffajee said.

He said it is only after the court has decided if Mbeki’s action was correct that Masetlha will consider his future.

Mbeki had terminated the services of Masetlha last week with immediate effect.
Briefing the media at Parliament following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting at Tuynhuys last Wednesday, Netshitenzhe said this followed Mbeki’s determination that the relationship of trust between himself and Masetlha had irreparably broken down.

During its meeting, the Cabinet had been briefed on the investigation by Ngcakani into the authenticity of allegedly intercepted “e-mail communication” among public figures.

“The meeting noted the findings of the IG that these ‘e-mails’ were fabricated mock-ups that were not and could not have been communicated over the world-wide web.

“Overwhelming evidence, supported by independent expert testimony, points to the fact that the ‘e-mails’ and chat-room conversations were patently fraudulent,” Netshitenzhe said.

The Cabinet had agreed all relevant administrative, legal and policy issues deriving from the report should be followed up and, where required, the Cabinet would be briefed on progress in this regard.

The meeting was also informed that Mbeki had decided to terminate Masetlha’s services with effect from Wednesday March 22.

The IG and Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils would brief Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence, the management and personnel of the intelligence agencies, and the media on the details of the findings in due course, Netshitenzhe said.

Kasrils suspended Masetlha and two other senior officials last year, pending a probe into claims of “serious misconduct” allegedly related to the surveillance of politician-turned-businessman Saki Macozoma.—Sapa

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