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National Intelligence Agency (South Africa)

National Intelligence Agency
File:NIA logo.png
Logo of South Africa's National Intelligence Agency (NIA)
Agency overview
Formed January 1, 1994; 22 years ago (1994-01-01)[1]
Preceding Agency National Intelligence Service (NIS)

Musanda, Pretoria South Africa
28°18′24″S 25°51′02″E / 28.30667°S 25.85056°E / -28.30667; 25.85056{{#coordinates:28|18|24|S|25|51|02|E|type:landmark | |name=

Employees Classified
2500 estimated
Annual budget Classified
Minister responsible David Mahlobo
Agency executive Unknown

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was the previous name of an intelligence agency of the South African government. Currently it is known as the Domestic Branch of the State Security Agency. It is responsible for domestic and counter-intelligence within the Republic of South Africa. The branch is run by a Director, who reports to the Director-General of the State Security Agency, is also a member of the National Intelligence Co-Ordinating Committee (NICOC).

The NIA has been described by The Guardian as being is politically factionalised and penetrated by foreign agencies.[2]


The NIA was formed in 1994 following South Africa's first multi-racial elections. It was created to take over from the domestic intelligence segment of the then National Intelligence Service (NIS) with the foreign intelligence functions being taken over by the South African Secret Service (SASS). Both the SASS and NIA were created as part of the Intelligence Act of 1994.they were created out of the Intelligence Services of ANC, PAC, Venda and Bophuta Tswana Homelands

Current status

Since 2009, the National Intelligence Agency is now a division of the State Security Agency (South Africa) and is still responsible for domestic intelligence, retaining its own branch Director.[3] The State Security Agency Director General and the domestic intelligence Director in turn report via the National Intelligence Co-Ordinating Committee to the Minister of State Security.[4] In August 2013, the Minister for State Security, Siyabonga Cwele, announced the new domestic intelligence Director as Simon Ntombela. Other appointments made at the same time were Nozuko Bam deputy director for domestic collection, Africa and Thulani Dlomo as deputy director counter-intelligence.[5] On the 3 September 2014, State Security Minister David Mahlobo announced that Director of the Domestic Branch of the State Security Agency Simon Ntombela and deputy Director General of Domestic Collection Nozuko Bam, both appointed in 2013, have been “redeployed” to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.[6]


The following people have held the position of Director-General or Director since the restructure of the South African intelligence services in 1994:

  • 1995 – 1999 Sizakele Sigxashe[7]:345
  • 1999 – 2004 Vusi Mavimbela[7]:346
  • 2004 – 2005 Billy Masetlha[7]:346
  • 2005 – 2009 Manala Manzini[8]
  • 2009 – 2011 Lizo Gibson Njenje[9]
  • 2011 – 2013 Dennis Dlomo (acting)[10]
  • 2013 – 2014 Simon Ntombela[5][6]



The NIA has received some media attention of late[when?] due to media reports of an Al-Qaeda plot to attack targets in parts of South Africa. The NIA investigated the claims and reported them to be false. However, the NIA remains alert to the possible presence of Al-Qaeda operatives in the country, and in April 2004 a number of alleged operatives were arrested and deported. The NIA works closely with the Crime Intelligence Division of the South African Police Service in this regard.[citation needed]

Spying on African National Congress

In October 2005, the NIA was rocked by allegations that senior officials had been engaged in spying on African National Congress member Saki Macozoma. Three senior officials, including the director-general, Billy Masetlha were suspended[11] following an investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence.[12] The alleged spying took place against the backdrop of a developing power struggle between factions in the ANC. In December 2005, the Sunday Times newspaper claimed that the South African Police Service was preparing to raid the offices of the NIA as part of investigations into the matter.[13]


In 1999, the agency employed about 1,500 persons.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ "History of the NIA". South African Government. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Africa is new ‘El Dorado of espionage’, leaked intelligence files reveal". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Cwele announces new appointments in intelligence". Mail&Gardian. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  6. ^ a b "SSA defends Zuma's axing of spooks". Mail&Gardian. 2014-09-06. Retrieved 2015-02-08. 
  7. ^ a b c Sanders, James (2006). Apartheid's Friends. The Rise and Fall of South Africa's Secret Services. Great Britain: John Murray(Publishers). ISBN 978-0719566752. 
  8. ^ "Minister calls Manala 'the perfect spy'". IOL News. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  9. ^ "Mo appointment angers opposition parties". IOL News. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  10. ^ "Spy bill paves way for agency merger". IOL News. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  11. ^ ,"New ANC spy vs spy bombshell". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  12. ^ "The man who looks over the shoulder of every spy". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  13. ^[dead link]
  14. ^, Sentinel Country Risk Assessments Library > Southern Africa > South Africa > Security and Foreign Forces, “At provincial level, Provincial Intelligence Co-coordinating Committees (PICOC) were subsequently created. Information on personnel strengths is confidential, but a report published at the end of 1999 indicated that NIA employed some 2,500 agents and the Secret Service 1,500 agents. Control mechanisms such as a mechanism for parliamentary oversight; an independent inspector-general; and an absence of law enforcement powers are also provided for."
  15. ^ Chris Hippner, "A Study Into the Size of the World’s Intelligence Industry" (Master's Thesis, December 2009), 114,

External links

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