Moe Shaik named new secret service chief

Moe Shaik is the new head of the South African Secret Service, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele announced in Pretoria on Friday.

Cwele said Shaik was appointed because of his vast experience in intelligence matters in the African National Congress (ANC) during apartheid days.

“He [Shaik] served in the international underground structures of the ANC in Natal, his duties involved collection and analysis of intelligence at the coal face,” said Cwele.

The head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is Lizo Gibson Njenje.

Cwele also said that various South African civilian intelligence structures have been reorganised into a single department.

“The creation of a single department will centralise command and control of the civilian intelligence structures.

Cwele said the new structure will be known as the State Security Agency (SSA).

The NIA and the South African Secret Service, each with their own head of services, will continue to operate in terms of their respective mandates, said Cwele.

Shaik is known to be a close associate of President Jacob Zuma and is said to have played a key role in his campaigning for ANC president.

Shaik is the brother of fraud convict Schabir Shaik, the former financial adviser of Zuma.

Schabir was released on medical parole in March this year—shortly before Zuma was elected president—after serving two years and four months of his 15-year prison term.

Opposition parties have questioned whether he was really terminally ill.

In a statement on Friday, the Democratic Alliance slammed the appointment of Moe Shaik, likening it to “putting King Herod in charge of a crèche”.

“President Zuma could not have found someone less competent, or more hopelessly partisan, for this job,” said Theo Coetzee, the DA’s shadow minister of state security, said. “This appointment has clearly been made to consolidate the Zuma faction’s hold over the South African intelligence community. It will no doubt mean that the intelligence community will be used to pursue partisan battles, to an even greater degree than it has in the past.

“It is certainly no coincidence that Shaik is an important political ally and close personal friend of the President.”—Sapa

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