Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has described former spy boss Silumko Sokupa as a dedicated and hardworking senior official who fought for democracy and wanted a credible spy agency.
Sokupa, who was one of the members of the High Level Review Panel into the July unrest, was laid to rest in Pretoria on Thursday, following his passing a few days before.
Ramaphosa said Sokupa had never sought position, personal wealth or publicity.
He had served in various positions in the intelligence agencies over the years.
He had served as Deputy Director-General of the Secret Service and coordinator of the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee.
Other than serving in the high level review panel into the July unrest with Professor Sandy Africa and advocate Mojanku Gumbi, he had served in another panel, chaired by former Cabinet Minister Sydney Mufamadi, into the review of the State Security Agency in 2018.
Ramaphosa described him as a veteran of the intelligence community.
He said Sokupa would be disappointed with how the SSA had strayed over the years.
“He understood, more than many, the place of intelligence in a democratic society. He understood the purpose of the intelligence services as guardians of the people, of their rights and of their constitution. In a difficult field of work, in an environment often shrouded in secrecy and intrigue, he stood firm on the pre-eminence of the constitution and the rule of law.
“It must have been deeply distressing for him as a member of the intelligence of the High Level Review Panel in the State Security Agency, to witness how far our intelligence services had strayed from their essential purpose,” said Ramaphosa.
It was now time to fix the intelligence agencies and the respect for the rule of law, he said.
Ramaphosa said Sokupa had remained dedicated to his work for many years and had held the Constitution in high regard.