Speech by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, guest of honour at the Intelligence Services Awards Ceremony, 26 November 2007, Pretoria

Honourable Minister Kasrils
Mr Joe Nhlanhla
Distinguished guests
Directors General
Members of the Services

It is a great honour and privilege to speak at this Intelligence Services Day Awards Ceremony.

Foreign Services and the Intelligence services are 2 sides of the same coin. Someone once said that diplomats use the front door, and the Intelligence operators use the back door, but in the end both of us serve in the national interest. We do so cooperatively, and as team South Africa.

It is now a matter of proud record that through the intelligence services ‘Holy Trinity ‘ – i.e through the collection of quality information; its sophisticated analysis and assessment; and its timely presentation, you have enriched and reinforced our diplomatic work.

The Ten Priorities identified by the Services has ensured that the Services are constantly improving your work and capacity. Let me once again remind ourselves of the Ten Priorities :

  • Ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to core business.
  • Targeted recruitment, training and strategic placement of members
  • Improve operational capacity in the provinces and abroad.
  • Deepen synergy with regard to intelligence sharing and coordination between all services, including crime, defence and finance.
  • Enhance NICOC’s analytical skills, national intelligence estimates and the National Early Warning Centre.
  • Develop intelligence cooperation in Africa and with our international partners.
  • Minimum Information Security Standards ( MISS ) within all government departments.
  • Strengthen security at our borders and ports of entry.
  • Develop costing of the South African National Academy for Intelligence ( SANAI ), its syllabus, training commitments and future.
  • Comprehensive improvements in our vetting capacity.

President Mbeki on  23 November 2006 speaking to the Services said :

“ All of us draw strength from the fact that the work we do quietly and away from the public glare ensures that SA remains united, our democracy is deepened and conditions for the creation of a prosperous future become more entrenched.

Sun Tzu, “ The Art of War “ :

“ What makes the enlightened rulers and good generals to conquer the enemy at every move and achieve extraordinary success is foreknowledge. Foreknowledge cannot be elicited from ghosts and spirits. It cannot be inferred from comparison of previous events or from calculations of the heavens but must be obtained from people who have knowledge of the enemy’s situation “.

“ An army without secret agents is exactly like a man without eyes or ears “.

The importance of the reality that we live in a globalising world which requires that we position ourselves correctly, relative both to the African continent and the rest of the world.

Strive to contribute what we can to the task to build a better world as well as advance our national interests.

  • We are not above the law
  • We are accountable to the duly elected and duly appointed civilian authority
  • We accept the principle of political non-partisanship.
  • We owe our loyalty to the Constitution, the citizens of our country and the State
  • We strive to maintain high standards of proficiency in the performance of our functions. “

A year later we can confidently proclaim that the Services have sought to respond to what the President said.


The 2007 National Intelligence Framework, like the previous ones, makes a significant contribution to our diplomatic work.

Let me take this opportunity to share with you, Foreign Affairs strategic perspectives, and together we must assess how this is dialectically linked to the 2007 Estimate.

Our strategic approach remains to achieve an international order with greater security, peace, dialogue and greater equilibrium between poor and rich countries. We are guided by the principle of a “Better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world”.

We seek to achieve this strategic objective acutely conscious that today, there is a growing tendency on the part of some of the powerful countries, to reduce the complex and inter-related problems of the world to a militaristic approach to national interests, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. This simplification and reduction of the problems is the ideological basis of so-called pre-emptive war, which is used to justify all kinds of unilateral solutions, regime change and the control of countries through economic domination and military actions.

Given this reality, the following factors in particular form the basis of our approach to foreign policy:

  1. Securing, protecting and advancing our national interests and our national sovereignty;
  2. Advancing our regional and continental interests including the African Agenda;
  3. Working to eradicate poverty, including poverty; the growing income, wealth and asset gaps between rich and poor and dealing with the multiple forms of inequality nationally, regionally, continentally and globally;
  4. Addressing the negative consequences of globalisation including underdevelopment, uneven-development, unemployment and the challenges of the global division of labour and determining how best countries can position themselves with respect to globalisation;
  5. Strengthening the culture of human rights, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law including the independence of the judiciary;
  6. Promoting democracy and strengthening the institutions of democracy and good governance;
  7. Democratising global multilateral institutions of governance;
  8. Promoting pro-poor, ecologically sensitive sustainable growth and development;
  9. Promoting peace and security across Africa and the globe, especially the Middle East.
  10. Promoting South-South co-operation and solidarity;
  • Challenging neo-liberalism and identifying the core elements of a progressive political discourse and creating and nurturing an African and a global progressive political agenda.

Our approach has to of necessity be complex and be based on an understanding of current global conjuncture and how it intersects and interplays with regional and national development goals. It requires a critical analysis of the socio-economic and political conditions as well as the institutional arrangements of governance and administration which either promote or inhibit the socio-economic and political development of the South.

We have to function in a fundamentally transformed world situation. This, inter alia, includes :

  • The dominance of one major power and the absence of a balance of power in the global system;
  • The continuing move to unilateralism and the weakening of the multilateral system;
  • The stark failure of the attempts at UN reforms and the failure to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • The failure of progressives to develop a response to globalisation;

It is within this reality that we have identified 3 major challenges :

  1. Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development in South Africa, Africa and the world.

Globalization is not a new phenomenon. The post 1980s globalization however has restructured the world economy.  Economic globalization is fundamentally about the transformation of the world’s economies into a world economy, placing the interests of transnational corporations ahead of those of individual nations. Joseph Stiglitz in his book Globalisation and its Discontents writes that “Globalisation, as it has been advocated, often seems to replace the old dictatorships of national elites with new dictatorships of international finance … For millions of people globalization has not worked … they have seen their jobs destroyed and their lives become more insecure”.

The historic UN Millennium Summit concluded :

“we believe that the central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalisation becomes a positive force for all the world’s people. For, while globalisation offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognise that developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge. Thus, only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalisation be made fully inclusive and equitable.”

Since that lofty proclamation, what is the reality today ?

  • 50, 000 people die daily as a result of poverty and poverty related diseases;
  • 30,000 children die every single day before they reach the age of 5 because they do not have adequate food or medicines. This is 210, 000 children a week - equivalent to 1 Tsunami each week killing our children;
  • In a world of 6 billion people, 2 billion people live on the poverty line of less than $2 a day and 700 million of them are classified as desperately poor.
  • 1, 5 billion of our fellow inhabitants have no work.

The national per capita income of the twenty richest countries is 37 times larger than that of the twenty poorest, a gap which has doubled in size over the last forty years.

In Sub-Saharan Africa :

  • Over 40% of Sub-Saharan African people live below the international poverty line of US$ 1 a day.
  • 34 of the world’s 41 highly indebted poor countries are in Africa.
  • The cost to Africa of servicing its foreign debt of US 349 billion in 1997 amounted to 21.3% of its earnings from the export of goods and services.
  • Africa with almost one-sixth the world’s population accounts for only one-fiftieth of global trade- and its share is diminishing.
  • The high mineral commodities change prices and the discovery of new oil reserves can change the bleak picture.

To successfully fight poverty and achieve sustainable development, we must challenge the hegemony of the neo-liberal conservative paradigm, which worships the market and absolute liberalisation. It puts emphasis on the private as opposed to the public, the individual as opposed to the collective, the individual as opposed to the state. It also demands a limit to state power.

We seek to do this in a complex and unpredictable global environment which necessitates the building of capacity for rapid response to instant and emerging changes in SA, the region, the continent and the global environment. Within this globalising context, our strategy for the next coming years will remain firmly anchored on the African Agenda and co-operation with the developing countries of the South in order to tilt the balance in favour of the developmental agenda.

This requires a long term commitment to the successful restructuring of the Southern African Development Community, strengthening of the AU structures and organs, including the implementation of the NEPAD and ensuring peace, stability and security in Africa within the framework of the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development policy (PCRD).

Today, we are convinced that an historic opportunity presents itself to end the scourge of under-development that afflicts Africa. The resources, including capital, technology and human skills, that are required to launch a global war on poverty and under-development exist in abundance and within our reach. What is required to mobilise these resources and use them properly, is bold and imaginative leadership that is genuinely committed to a sustained human development effort and the eradication of poverty, as well as a new global partnership based on shared responsibility and mutual interest.

Despite all weaknesses, obstacles and challenges, there is a major transformation process that is taking place on the African continent that is anchored on key principles of African ownership and leadership, self reliance and a new partnership with the developed and developing world that is based on mutual respect, responsibility and accountability.

Its ultimate expression in the new partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD.


While presently we have to contend with the hegemony of a super-power, there are however exciting new developments.

Latin America is currently undergoing some political re-orientation which has resulted in the emergence of governments with left leaning tendencies and progressive credentials

We need to correctly understand these developments and avoid jumping to unscientific conclusions.

A key challenge that we have to confront is how do we defeat outside interference and subversion of Latin American countries with a progressive agenda? Especially how do we respond to the programme of the USA for regime change in Cuba; and the other countries that have embarked on a new political dispensation?

We also have to make a more scientific analysis of the left forces in other parts of the world; Africa, Asia and Europe.

Today we are witnessing the phenomenal economic growth of China and India and their impact on global trajectories. Also we are witnessing the increasing manifestation of a richer, confident Russia on the world stage.

What are the consequences of these developments?

The second major challenge that we face is:

Peace and Security

As I have said earlier, we have to contend with a hegemonic super-power.

The USA National Security Strategy of 1990 concluded that the USA had “to reinforce our units deployed or to project power into areas where we have no permanent presence, particularly in the ME, because of the free worlds reliance on energy supplies from this pivotal region. The USA would also need to be prepared for low intensity conflict involving lower order threats like terrorism, subversion, insurgency and drug trafficking that are menacing the US, its citizens, and its interests in a new way”.

Many interpreted this to mean that the military was indicating that in the Post Cold-War situation, the USA intended becoming the police of the world.

  • Sept 11, 2001 yet another decisive moment

The USA National Security Strategy of 2001 gave the world a clear warning that the USA will use its political, economic and military hegemony to fight any challenge to its hegemony. Also that it will act unilaterally against any “terrorist” organisation, against any state that harbours a “terrorist organisation” and against any individuals that they declare to be assisting terrorism.   

We are now confronted with concepts such as :

  • “ Axis of Evil”
  • “Rogue States”
  • “Failed States”

To justify such actions, policies have been introduced based on:

  • “ Clash of Civilisations”
  • “Religious crusades”
  • “ Islamo- Fascism”
  • Preventative action
  • Regime change

Some dangerous consequences of the new international paradigm most starkly evident is :

  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Middle East
  • Iran nuclear programme
  • Conflicts in Africa

A Deputy Assistant to former President Clinton noted that “rather than continuing to exist as first among equals in the post-war international system, the USA would act as a law unto itself, creating new rules of international engagement without agreement with other nations”.

African Conflicts

Since 1994, SA has been actively involved in conflict prevention, resolution and post conflict re-construction.

  • Burundi
  • Sudan
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Somalia
  • Western Sahara
  • DRC
  • Zimbabwe

Africa ’s new Challenges

New scramble for Africa

  • Politics of oil, gas and minerals

Former colonial countries are tightening their neo-colonial grip of some African countries and further deepening the existing challenges. Increasing use of ODA for political objectives.

  • Regime change

Increasing presence of foreign troops in Africa

  • USA African Command Centre

The Services have a crucial role to ensure that Africa is not once again ruthlessly plundered an exploited.

( elaborate )

  • The third major challenge we face is the restructuring of the global exercise of  power
  • This must extend to political, economic, social and military spheres
  • Multilateralism remains the only viable framework within which to address global issues- as such the UN, while not a perfect instrument, remains the only viable instrument through which to deal with such issues
  • The challenge, inter alia, demands urgent reforms to make the UN more relevant to current realities.  It must become more transparent, representative, responsive to the needs of all its members and not the few powerful and rich, more streamlines, efficient and effective. SA took its non-permanent seat in the Security Council in January 2007 for a period of 2 years.

We seek to restore the global exercise of power in world order is characterised, inter alia, by:

  • Unilateralism vs. rules based global system (erosion of multilateralism)
  • Networks and alliances based on specific issues (e.g. “coalition of the willing”)
  • National interests often supersede adherence to international law (common interests) Kyoto, NPT, ICC- invasion of Iraq

A major study, “The rule of Power or the rule of Law by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the Committee for Nuclear Policy concluded that the “USA has violated, compromised or acted to undermine in some crucial way every treaty that we have studied in detail, including the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. According to the report, the USA is “devising a way from regarding treaties as an essential element in global security to a more opportunistic standoff abiding by treaties only when it is convenient”.

Kofi Annan (Sept 2006),

“We face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community upon which the UN stands for.

The events of last 10 years have not resolved but sharpened the challenges of our unjust world economy, world disorder and contempt for human rights and the rule of law”.


We are operating in an international order that is a fundamentally transformed paradigm that is constantly changing, forever throwing up new challenges and threatening our very existence.

Our correct understanding of the international dynamics will also help us to understand our domestic challenges.

So the development of a vision of a progressive global discourse  must be comprehensive and must include the socio-economic and political domains. Such a vision for the 21 st Century has to be compelling; it must be inclusive and address the central challenges identified. As a vision it must be centrally concerned with: social justice and injustice; exclusion and inclusion; human rights and the denial of human rights; a clear role for the developmental state; a determined effort of deal with market related and market induced inequalities; providing equality of opportunities; developing social inclusion and cohesion; promoting peace and stability regionally and globally; promoting sustainable growth and development; ecological and environmental sustainability; and dealing with the glaring unequal division of wealth on global, national regional and national levels.

To successfully challenge the status quo and to put in place something wholly new requires not only the full participation of progressive governments but the mobilisation of the people of the world in their social movements behind an agreed-upon agenda as collective global agent for change.

The Intelligence Services, as never before, has a historic responsibility to ensure that our international work is guided by the “ holy trinity “ of quality information, sophisticated analyses and assessments, and its timely presentation.

Together we can esure that we have “a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world”.

Thank you!

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