Mo Shaik likely to follow Maqetuka’s exit


Mo Shaik, the head of the South African Secret Service, is on his way out following the resignation of the director general of state security, Jeff Maqetuka, on Monday. The Mail & Guardian reported this morning it had reliably learned that Shaik has confided to people close to him that he will be out before the end of the year.

“He has told his close associates that he has reached the end of his tether and will leave the department. He could resign within the next two weeks,” intelligence sources said. Approached for comment yesterday, Shaik said he was still at work and had not resigned.

This week the M&G obtained a confidential memorandum from Maqetuka announcing his resignation to staff. It said: “Since my last communication at Rulani on 7 October 2011 during my address on the mid-term review, I have been in communication with H.E. President JG Zuma and the Honourable Minister Dr SC Cwele wherein I have raised my concerns about the state of affairs within the State Security Agency.”

He said Zuma and Cwele had accepted his resignation. Maqetuka will be 60 in January and has opted to retire then, rather than serve out his contract until the end of October next year. He is the second high-ranking official to leave the ministry in less than two months, following the departure of Gibson Njenje, the head of the National Intelligence Agency.

At the time of Njenje’s resignation speculation was rife that Njenje, Shaik and Maqetuka had clashed with Cwele, allegedly over his request to place several senior ANC leaders under surveillance and intercept their communication following a perceived “threat analysis” in the ministry’s quarterly political stability assessment report.

Earlier this year it was reported that the three spy bosses had complained to Zuma about Cwele about what they alleged were “unauthorised” operations, including the surveillance of Cabinet ministers. A Sunday newspaper reported in October that Cwele had asked Njenje, Maqetuka and Shaik to step down. Cwele confirmed at the time that Njenje had resigned, but it took a few days for Njenje to oblige.

The men apparently tried to mobilise certain Cabinet members, including sympathetic senior ANC leaders, about their plight. However, Zuma sided with Cwele and allegedly stopped taking calls from the officials. Said one official: “Mo [Shaik] made a statement soon after he took over that the new executives would not do what politicians want them to do. The theme was that there would be no political interference. He said this in front of the minister. He wanted officers to stay away from domestic politics and do the job of securing the country.”