Jacob Zuma's tribute to Sizakele Sigxashe

First director general of National Intelligence Agency passed away on Dec. 13


President Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to Dr Sizakele Sigxashe, the first Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who passed away yesterday, 13 December 2011.

Dr Sigxashe served NIA with pride, efficiency and diligence as its top civil servant and an accounting officer. Before that, he had served the Intelligence Unit of the African National Congress in exile.

The NIA traces its origins to the amalgamation in 1995 of the intelligence departments of former Liberation Movements the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania, with the former National Intelligence Service, previously known as the Bureau for State Security, as well the intelligence units of the supposedly independent "homelands". In 2009, as part of the reconfiguration of departments, NIA became the State Security Agency under the Department of State Security, fostering a common vision of the future based on service to the democratically elected government as the embodiment of the will of the people.

Dr Sigxashe was born on 21 June 1937 and has worked as Chair of the Intelligence Services Council on Conditions of Service; was assigned as Researcher to Military Intelligence and seconded to Defence Ministry in Angola in 1976. He joined the ANC in 1959 and Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) in 1970. He joined Umkhonto we Sizwe's intelligence arm when it was formed in 1978 and was rewarded for his long service in the organisation as one of its low-key background operatives rather than a high-profile activist, by being given the post as Director-General of NIA's domestic operations.

A committed struggle activist, Dr Sigxashe joined the ranks of freedom fighters who left South Africa after the Rivonia Treason Trial to join the underground operations of the African National Congress. He completed a PHD in Economics in Russia and thereafter worked as university lecturer in Dar es Salaam in the 1970s, while doing underground work for the ANC, joining MK's intelligence arm when it was formed in 1978.

"His selfless service to the people of South Africa will be sorely missed," said President Zuma. "On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, we convey our deepest condolences and may his soul rest in peace," the President added.

Statement issued by Mac Maharaj, The Presidency, December 14 2011

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