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Putting Mo Shaik in charge of the Secret Service is like putting King Herod in charge of a crèche.
President Zuma could not have found anyone less competent, or more hopelessly partisan, for this job. This appointment has clearly been made to consolidate the Zuma faction's hold over the South African intelligence community. It will no doubt mean that the intelligence community will be used to pursue partisan battles, to an even greater degree than it has in the past.
It is certainly no coincidence that Mo Shaik is an important political ally and close personal friend of the President. President Zuma has set about systematically deploying cadres to key positions in the state, positions which should be filled by qualified, non-partisan officials. Nowhere should this principle apply more than to the heads of the intelligence services.
The state security services are in a mess, and we need capable people in place to sort out those problems. This appointment, on the other hand, will likely further politicise an already divided, politically abused department, and blur the parameters of executive influence. In particular, there remain serious outstanding questions over the use of tapes, possibly procured illegally from a state intelligence agency, in the NPA's decision to drop charges against President Zuma earlier this year. In these circumstances, how could it possibly be appropriate for a close personal friend of the President - indeed, the brother of the man convicted for his ‘generally corrupt relationship' with the President - to be appointed to a senior post within the intelligence ranks?
It also beggars belief that the seemingly incompetent Mzuvukile Maqetuka has been appointed to head up the new South African Security Agency. Maqetuka's disastrous reign as director-general of Home Affairs saw that department reduced to a state of disrepair. Maqetuka's inability to put even basic systems into place caused the delivery of services to grind to a halt, and we are, today, living with the results. Once again we have the ANC rewarding, and promoting, incompetence.