Spy boss quits SSA

Sonto Kudjoe (GCIS)
Sonto Kudjoe (GCIS)

Johannesburg - The Director General of the State Security Agency (SSA), Sonto Kudjoe, has quit the country's spy agency.

In a terse statement issued on Thursday by Department of State Security spokesperson Brian Dube, it was announced that Kudjoe's contract "has been terminated by mutual agreement".

According to the statement, Kudjoe "will pursue opportunities elsewhere."

Dube could not be reached for further comment on the DG's sudden departure from the SSA.

Kudjoe took over as SSA DG in 2013, after having filled various senior positions at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco). She was also South Africa's ambassador to Sweden (2002-2006) and Egypt (2006-2010).

Kudjoe's departure comes in the wake of some turbulent years at the SSA. Her predecessor, Jeff Maqetuka, resigned in 2013 after four years in the job. Maqetuka, Gibson Njenje, the former head of domestic intelligence, and Moe Shaik, the former head of foreign intelligence, reportedly resigned together after being ordered to halt an investigation into the Gupta family.

Critics of the government's intelligence agency maintain it has routinely abused its powers, especially since the important position of inspector general of intelligence (IGI) became vacant last year.

Former IGI Faith Radebe resigned from this position in March 2015 and Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence has since failed to nominate a new candidate to replace her.

The SSA has received a fair amount of negative coverage this year alone. SSA operatives have been implicated in media reports of having placed a spy within mining giant Lonmin at the time of the Marikana massacre and even having been involved in a covert project to destabilise the anti-ANC Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) by founding a rival union in the platinum sector.


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