Sizakele Sigxashe was born on 21 June 1937. Sigxashe joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1959 and became involved in its anti apartheid activities. He left the country in 1964 and joined ANC ranks of those who were already exile. Sigxashe went to Russia where he received military training and also pursued his studies for a PhD in Economics.  While in Russia he looked after other comrades’ welfare, for instance he looked after Max Sisulu’s son when he deployed in Tanzania. After completing his studies, he returned Tanzania where he worked as a lecturer at the University of Dar-es Salaam in the 1970s. During this period he also did underground work for the ANC.

In 1970 he joined the ANC’s armed wing uMkhonto weSizwe(MK) and when its intelligence arm was formed in 1978, Sigxashe was appointed as one of its operatives. He then worked as Chair of the Intelligence Services Council on Conditions of Service before being made a military intelligence researcher. After this, he was seconded to the Defence Ministry in Angola in 1976. He worked closely particularly with those in MK’s intelligence circles such as Jacob Zuma and Joe Nhlanhla. When mutiny broke out in MK in 1984, the ANC established a Commission of Inquiry headed by James Stuart. Sigxashe was appointed as one of the Commissioners alongside Antony Mongalo, Aziz Pahad and Mtu Jwili.

After the fall of the apartheid government, the different intelligence agencies were integrated. Sigxashe was appointed as the first Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Sigxashe passed away on 13 December 2011.


SAPA, (2011), Zuma pays tribute to former NIA head, from The Citizen, 14 December, [online] Available at[Accessed 20 December 2011]|Mokonyane, N, (2011), Nomvula Mokonyane's eulogy to Sizakele Sigxashe, from Politicsweb, 19 December, [online] Available at[Accessed 20 December 2011]

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