Cwele denies purging of top spies
Cape Town - State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele has dismissed reports that top spies Mo Shaik and Jeff Maqetuka may soon lose their jobs.
Cwele was responding to a question in the National Assembly from Cope MP Smuts Ngonyama.
He asked whether former domestic intelligence chief Gibson Njenje was forced out for political reasons and whether Shaik, foreign intelligence chief; and Maqetuka, state security director general, would follow.
"It would be appreciated if political parties abstain from making unconfirmed statements as these might have a negative impact on the morale of management and members within the State Security Agency," the minister said.
Njenje recently left his post, reportedly after accepting a settlement that will see him paid out for the remainder of his three-year contract. It would have run until the end of September 2012.
Ngonyama wanted to know how much Njenje would be compensated and whether his departure was not a "waste of much needed skills".
Cwele replied: "Whilst his departure leaves a vacancy in the hierarchy of the State Security Agency senior management, this will not have a negative impact on peace and security or service delivery of the agency, since operational plans for the domestic branch are in place and line functional management and operatives will continue to implement these."
He declined to comment on the size of the settlement.
According to news reports last month Shaik and Maqetuka had fallen out with the minister and were being pushed to quit. The state security ministry said in a statement on Wednesday the reports were "rumours".