Citizen reporter
2 minute read
25 Nov 2019
3:08 pm

There shouldn’t be a state security minister at all, says Mo Shaik

Citizen reporter

According to the former spy boss, state security services have been systematically undermined in recent years.

Picture: Screenshot (SABC News)

Rieaz ‘Mo’ Shaik, former intelligence head and brother to Schabir Shaik, who was found guilty of having a corrupt relationship with former president Jacob Zuma and convicted of fraud in 2005, took the stand at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday, describing the inner workings of South Africa’s national intelligence structures.

He used two organogram charts to show the way intelligence was structured between 1994 and 1997 and between 2010 and 2019, in a bid to show how these structures had become “undermined”.

Shaik revealed that he only discovered that he was to be appointed head of the foreign branch of the State Security Agency (SSA) back in 2009 when he arrived for what he thought was just a meeting with then State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

He and others at the meeting were briefed and then led out to a press conference that was already set up, and at which the announcement of his and other appointments were made.

In an interview on eNCA ahead of his testimony, Shaik said that the inspector-general of intelligence who recommended that Pravin Gordhan and the others involved in the so-called rogue unit should be criminally charged had no jurisdiction to investigate the unit.

He alleged that some political interference may have taken place and laid the blame at Cwele’s feet.

At the commission on Monday, Shaik explained that, in his view, a minister of intelligence was unnecessary, and intelligence should report directly to the president.

“When you appoint a minister in intelligence you are automatically making him ‘first among peers’. That minister is bound to know things about other ministers,” he said.

He said he never believed in the role, as he knew it would create conflict.

Shaik detailed his background and journey towards becoming involved with national intelligence through underground training during apartheid.

He said he “grew close” to Zuma and became his supporter at this time, as Zuma was the ANC’s intelligence head.

“I reported to Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the ANC’s head of intelligence, and became close to him as a result. I remained a firm supporter of his for many years” he said.

Shaik’s testimony continues.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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