Why we're restructuring spy agencies - Siyabonga Cwele

Inc. official profiles of Moe Shaik, Gibson Njenje and Mzuvukile Maqetuka


President Jacob Zuma, when appointing his Cabinet in May this year, tasked the Ministers of State Security, Police, Defence, Home Affairs, Justice and Correctional Services to review the structures of the civilian intelligence community with the aim of developing a more effective and efficient intelligence architecture.

As such, in my budget vote speech in July this year, I stated our intention to review the number of structures that had developed over the years and which we have found contributes to the challenges of coordination and a sufficient lack of focus in the intelligence community.  I added then that our mission was to provide value for money as expected by the President, government and the people of South Africa.


Improving the capacity and function of intelligence services is a constant focus for governments across the world because we understand the critical value of intelligence to secure the state, its people, infrastructure and resources. Thus making intelligence more effective and relevant is a necessity because of the changing nature of threats as well as the ever changing global and domestic environment.

In some international cases, the review on the functioning and capacity of an intelligence service has been precipitated by a major intelligence failure or an attack as was the case with 9/11.

In our case, we were concerned that a large share of the budget allocated to the intelligence services was being spent on corporate affairs rather than on operations which is the core business of any intelligence service. Core business refers to the collection, correlation, evaluation, analyzing, interpreting and dissemination of intelligence - in a nutshell the provision of intelligence products - as well as instituting counter-intelligence measures such as vetting, for example, to uphold national security.


We are restructuring the intelligence services so as to refocus on intelligence priorities, improve controls over intelligence priorities and the budget, eliminate duplication and mobilize all of our resources (funds and personnel) to core business.

 As mentioned, a major concern is the duplication of resources particularly in the corporate services component and the huge challenge to more effectively coordinate the work of the number of structures in the civilian intelligence community.

We therefore believe that the creation of a single structure which will entail a foreign and domestic collection capacity and a centralized budget will address these challenges.


As background, the NIA, SASS and NICOC were established in 1995 following the amalgamation of statutory and non-statutory organizations. The NIA and SASS has over the years operated as two separate entities, each with their own accounting officer, while the NICOC headed by a Director General was serviced by the Agency.

To date, NIA has two deputy directors general, SASS three, and NICOC two resulting in a total of three deputy directors general responsible for corporate affairs.

Over the years, in an effort to create centres of specialization, the South African National Academy of Intelligence (SANAI), National Communications Centre (NCC), Office for Interception Centers (OIC), Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd (COMSEC) and Intelligence Services Council on Conditions of Employment (ISC) were formed.  Each of these structures is headed by a deputy director general and each of them has a corporate affairs capacity.


The proliferation of structures has resulted in a large portion of the budget being spent on corporate services, unnecessary duplication of functions and the current situation has generally posed challenges for more effective coordination of our work.

For example, we all know that information technology is highly costly, is constantly being developed and as such requires continual upgrading.  The cost to business is enormous for IT alone and if not managed utilizes a considerable share of the budget. The National Communications Centre, COMSEC and the Office for Interception Centres are highly technical environments that rely on state of art technology.  Closer coopeation between these three structures will eliminate any further duplications and thus free up funds that can be invested elsewhere.


Immediate attention will be given to the legislation amendments, budget restructuring, redeployment and retraining of staff to core business, the professionalizing of the service, and redefining our national security doctrine.

Operations will continue unaffected as no staff working in these components will be affected by redeployment. To give effect to the restructuring, a legislative process is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2010.  The process to enact Protection of Information legislation will continue.

We are also reviewing the White Paper on Intelligence which will inform our national security doctrine and strategy. The process of review will involve government departments, civil society and the general public. We have noted the allegations of the politicization of members of the intelligence community.  We believe that the creation of a single command and control type structure will further contribute to our efforts to build a professional intelligence service to better serve the South African public.

The security cluster Ministers have made recommendations to the President on potential candidates who have the necessary experience, understanding of the intelligence needs, and ability to help build a professional organization.

We value the contributions made by the current leadership of the intelligence services as well as our members over the years. I wish to assure all members, particularly those in corporate services who will be affected by the restructuring that they will be retrained to fill other posts in the organisation.


In conclusion, I must restate that the entire exercise of restructuring is to refocus on our intelligence priorities, improve controls over intelligence priorities and the budget, eliminate duplication and mobilize our resources to become a more professional and effective intelligence organization.  When we achieve this we will be better positioned to put intelligence at the core of government business.

I therefore call on all members of the intelligence community to participate fully in this process so that we manage this change speedily and without any disruptions to core business.  I also wish to express my gratitude to President Zuma for the interests and support shown to the intelligence community.


Mr Lizo Gibson Njenje is an experienced intelligence officer of note this country has ever produced. His involvement in the intelligence craftwork span many years, beginning in the liberation struggle till in the democratic dispensation.

He has served in different capacities, particularly at the senior level in the intelligence community. He began his career as Deputy Head Counter Intelligence in the African National Congress Department of Intelligence and Security. After the amalgamation of both the statutory and non-statutory he served the intelligence community as the Deputy Director-General of both the South African Secret Services (SASS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) at different times.

Mr LG Njenje posses a vast of knowledge and experience acquired in the world of work and the education and training he has undergone. The reservoir of knowledge and experience he posses, not only as a career intelligence officer, but also as a businessman is what we require to rebuild and capacitate our intelligence structures to optimally serve the people of South Africa. He has passed through the doors of learning at the prestigious institutions i.e Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania), Wits Business School, and underwent intelligence training in the former East and West Germany, Moscow and military training in Angola.


Since his early days as a student Moe Shaik was involved in the structures engaged in the battle for freedom and democracy.

He served in the internal underground structures of the ANC, especially in Natal. His duties involved collection and analysis of intelligence at the coalface feeding into the ANC HQ in Lusaka to assist the leadership to properly respond to the situation in the country.

With the advent of democracy, Mr Shaik served the democratic government in many capacities. In 1994 he was part of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) team that facilitated the amalgamation of services into the new dispensation of intelligence.

He further served as Head of Ministerial Services to the Ministry of Intelligence Services, and in 1997 was appointed the Deputy Coordinator of Intelligence Services.

His commitment to national duty made to be appointed the South African Consul-General in Hamburg in 1998. And later he became the South African Ambassador to the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria. He became the Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Policy Research and Analysis Unit between 2003 and 2004.

Mr Moe Shaik is a qualified optometrist from the University of Durban-Westville. He worked as a lecturer and head of the Department of Optometry at the same university.


Mr Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka brings with him experience and knowledge spread both in the public service and private sector.

Mr Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka joined the intelligence in 1979 when he was incorporated into the ANC Department of Intelligence and Security after leaving the country to exile. He received his military training in Mozambique and subsequently left to the then German Democratic Republic where he did an advance course in intelligence. He has been stationed in several posting in the frontline states in height of the struggle for freedom and democracy as a representative of the African National Congress.

He served as the Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency from 1995-97 after the amalgamation of services. He was appointed the Deputy Director-General of the South African Secret Services from 2000 - 2001. Subsequently, he was appointed the National Coordinator of Intelligence with the responsibility to coordinate all the intelligence structures.

Mr Maqetuka was later on appointed as a Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs in 2007, and further served as the South African Ambassador to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the post he still holds.

Mr Maqetuka has received many awards of service in the intelligence community. He is in possession of BA Hons Degree in Contemporary Media Practice from University of Westminster, London, Certificate in News Agency Juornalism from Julius Fucick School of Journalism, Prague and Certificate course in Strategic management from Stellenbosch University.

Statement issued by the GCIS, October 2 2009

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