Billy Masetlha, South Africa’s Former Spy Chief, Dead At 68

May 14 came like any other day, and it would have been just like any other day, except that death intruded, taking with him Billy Masetlha, a member of the ruling African National Congress and former director general of the National Intelligence Agency. He was 68.

Reacting to the news of Billy’s death, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor noted that the country had lost a reliable representative and a firm pan-Africanist. She also sent her ministry’s condolences to the friends and family of the deceased.

Billy was serving as South Africa’s ambassador to Algeria at the time of his death. Multiple reports indicate that he died after a long illness. It is unclear exactly what he was suffering from.

Born on 21 November 1954 in  Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa, Billy witnessed the devastating run of apartheid run and was also on the ground when apartheid was abolished in the Rainbow Nation. He served several government positions, including the vitally important role of director general of the National Intelligence Agency

He was fired by Thabo Mbeki in 2006 after he was accused of spying on former president Jacob Zuma. He never got back to the position until his death. Details of his funeral will be announced shortly.

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