South Africa/National Intelligence Service

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Group.png South Africa/National Intelligence Service   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
LeaderNational Intelligence Service (South Africa)/Leader
Typeintelligence agency
SubpageSouth Africa/National Intelligence Service/Leader

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) replaced the discredited South African Bureau for State Security (incorrectly given the abbreviation BOSS by journalists). From its inception in 1980 until 1992, the NIS was headed by Niel Barnard. In 1994, it amalgamated with the intelligence agencies of the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress and the former homeland governments of Bophuthatswana, Venda and the Transkei, later becoming the State Security Agency.[1]

State Security Agency

In May 2009, President Jacob Zuma created the State Security Agency (SSA) with the mandate to provide the government with intelligence on domestic and foreign threats or potential threats to national stability, the constitutional order, and the safety and wellbeing of South African people. Examples of such threats are "terrorism", sabotage and subversion. This allows the government to implement policies to deal with potential threats and to better understand existing threats and thus improve their policies.[2]

SSA branches

The final organisational structure will see the following structures collapsed into the State Security Agency as branches, with each branch led by a head, accountable to the Director General:

SSA focus

Among the areas of focus of the SSA are the following matters of national interest:

  • Terrorism, which refers to deliberate and premeditated attempts to create terror through symbolic acts involving the use or threats of lethal force for creating psychological effects that will influence a target group or individual and translate it into political or material results.
  • Sabotage, which refers to activities or purposeful omissions conducted or planned for purposes of endangering the safety, security or defence of vital public or private property, such as installations, structures, equipment or systems.
  • Subversion, which includes activities directed towards undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed towards, or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the constitutionally established systems of government in South Africa.
  • Espionage, which refers to unlawful or unauthorised activities conducted for acquiring information or assets relating to sensitive social, political, economic, scientific or military matters of South Africa or for their unauthorised communication to a foreign state.
  • Organised Crime, which includes analysis of the origins and reasons behind organised crime, the identification of key role players, the nature and extent, as well as the modus operandi of organised crime syndicates.


  1. Historical Perspective of SASS, South African Secret Service, accessed 15 June 2009.
  2. "South Africa's State Security Agency"