#SpyCables: Plot to assassinate AUC chair exposed

After Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma assumed her role as chair of the AUC, there was an imminent threat to her life.

FILE: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: Jacoline Prinsloo/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - In the latest batch of Spy Cables released, details have emerged of an alleged plot to assassinate the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The Al Jazeera news network on Tuesday night released more secret documents, part of what has been described as the biggest intelligence leak in South Africa's democratic history.

The news network is currently in possession of hundreds of leaked documents from among others, the CIA, MI6 and SSA, which reportedly contain sensitive information.

The trove of documents contains spy data from South African, American, British, Israeli and Russian spy agencies.

A week after Dlamini Zuma assumed her role as chair of the AUC, intelligence services received information of what is described in secret documents as an imminent threat to her life.

WATCH: Leaks reveal African Union assassination threat.

The assassination attempt was expected to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2012.

The threat was believed to have come from Sudan, but agents were unable to track down any of the suspects identified.

The documents describe how ill-prepared both Ethiopian and South African security services were to handle such a threat with additional security detail ending up sleeping four nights in the corridor of a hotel without any food or water.

Diplomatic sensitivities also played a role in that South Africa did not want to appear to be taking over these security responsibilities, despite clear lack of resources and management on the AU's part.

By the end of the month, the threat level had subsided and no new information about the plot had been received.


Following South Africa's involvement in global intelligence operations and espionage attempts, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils says state security information is not only exploited by international agencies but by local politicians as well.

More information released overnight from spy cables leaked to Al Jazeera have revealed how intelligence information has been used in various countries for political gain.

One document reveals how Cameroon allegedly asked South Africa to spy on opposition leader Pierre Milla Assoute shortly before the country's presidential elections in 2011.

But South Africa declined saying that Assoute had not committed any offence warranting the action.

Kasrils says local government officials often manipulate secret information for their own benefit.

"Government and presidents, minsters, use the intelligence services in the personnel sections of those outfits for their own political purposes."


Former South African spy boss, Mo Shaik said that the State Security Agency (SSA) should quickly conduct a damage assessment and track the source of a leak of top secret reports and correspondence as its credibility has been significantly damaged.

Shaik said the SSA needed move quickly to determine the nature and extent of the leak.

"They need to assess the severity of the breach and the motivation for it."

The African Defence Review's Darren Olivier said government and the agency should work to regain its credibility.

"They must work comprehensively so they can reassure its foreign partners that they can be taken seriously."

While the agency is yet to comment, international relations said it would not comment on the matter.

_ LISTEN: Al Jazeera releases damning reports about SA's spy operations_.