South Africa: The Slow Yet Inexorable Unravelling of Jacob Zuma's Shadow State

President Jacob Zuma.

News that Director-General of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, has attempted to thwart an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence should come as surprise to no-one. Behind the scenes, a great unravelling is taking place. Zuma's pawns in Criminal Intelligence, SAPS, SARS, the NPA and the SSA are smarting from the disinfecting light of transparency and accountability. It's not going to be pretty as powerful figures in the ruling party risk being criminally exposed.

In 2009, former head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA, later to become the State Security Agency or SSA), Niel Barnard, was interviewed by Sue MacGregor for a BBC Radio 4 programme recalling Nelson Mandela's release and the events leading up to it.

Barnard, replying to a question by MacGregor about whether the NIA had been "ahead" of the apartheid government with regard to negotiations with the then banned ANC and Mandela, disclosed that indeed it had.

"If you are asking a political question then yes, we were. Intelligence services, as you know, should always be ahead of government," said Barnard, eliciting a chuckle from fellow studio guest Aziz Pahad.

Barnard's reply highlighted the extraordinary power of intelligence...

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