Former Intelligence Minister Joe Nhlanhla died on Wednesday, the African National Congress (ANC) said.
Spokesperson Jessie Duarte said Nhlanhla (71) had been in a coma for the past month, and died at about 4pm at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
Joseph Mbuku Nhlanhla was born on December 4 1936 in Sophiatown near Johannesburg.
He attended Ikage Primary School in Alexandra and later matriculated from Kilnerton Training Institute.
He joined the ANC and its youth wing, the ANC Youth League, in 1957 and was elected onto the ANCYL’s Transvaal executive a year later.
In early 1964, he left the country for the Soviet Union, where he completed a Masters degree in economics in Moscow in 1969.
However, he never worked as an economist.
That same year he was appointed head of the ANC’s youth and student headquarters in Tanzania, a post he served in for five years before being chosen as the organisation’s chief representative in Egypt and the Middle East in 1973.
In 1978, the ANC posted him to its Lusaka headquarters as national administrative secretary. Three years later he was elected a member of the ANC national executive committee.
In 1986, he joined the organisation’s intelligence directorate after serving a three-year stint as secretary to the political military council.
He was appointed ANC intelligence chief in July 1987.
He still held that post in 1989 when he was a member of the four-man ANC group headed by Thabo Mbeki that made contact with the apartheid government.
From 1990, he served on the ANC team tasked with removing obstacles to negotiations and sat on the interim government sub-committee at the Codesa talks.
In 1994, he was elected a member of the National Assembly and on February 22 the following year he was appointed deputy minister of intelligence.
Nhlanhla was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki as minister of intelligence in 1999. — Sapa