Posthumous honour for intelligence minister

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pretoria - The street leading to the headquarters of the State Security Agency (SSA) in Pretoria has been named after the late Intelligence Minister, Joe Nhlanhla.

Speaking after unveiling the plaque today, President Jacob Zuma said: "I am very proud to be here, but I am partly emotional. It took my memory back to when we were working together."

Zuma, who was addressing the Intelligence Services Day, applauded the State Security Ministry for ensuring that Nhlanhla's contributions were not forgotten.

Nhlanhla was first elected as a member of parliament in 1994 and was appointed deputy minister of intelligence on February 22 the following year. In 1999 former president Thabo Mbeki appointed Nhlanhla as minister of intelligence in 1999, Nhlanhla died at 71 last year.

Intelligence Services Day is commemorated annually to pay tribute to members of the intelligence community.

The President laid a wreath at the Memorial Wall and also planted a tree in the Garden of Remembrance in honour of defence force members who died while still in service.

The event is also used to recognise and give awards to loyal members who have distinguished service and leadership.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said Intelligence Services Day was conceived in 2002 as a way of honouring and rewarding the officers who serve the nation in silence.

"They miss the essential aspect of human consciousness, acknowledgement, so we acknowledge their presence, service and the drive to be selfless patriots.

"It is also a day in which we pay homage to those who have retired, passed away, that their work and lives would remain celebrated in the life of our democracy," he said.

Cwele said they also used the event to renew their oath to the state, and pledge their loyalty to the national symbols and commit to defend the sovereignty of South Africans.