- South africa
Controversial Mbeki guard, ’assassination plotter’ and arms deal whistle blower dies
Bheki Jacobs - also known as Uranin Vladimir, Hassan Solomon and Hassan Osman and belived to be Thabo Mbeki "personal secret agent" died at his mother’s home in Lansdowne after a six-month battle with cancer.
It is understood he was between 46 and 49 years old and is rated as one of South Africa’s most colourful and controversial struggle spooks.
Jacobs was buried on Monday afternoon in accordance with Muslim practice.
According to reports today, Jacobs fell out with the political and intelligence establishment when it became known he was behind an explosive document alleging corruption in the country’s multibillion-rand arms purchase.
His information formed the basis of the dossier in which Independent Democrat leader Patricia de Lille accused former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni - and 21 other officials - of having accepted bribes from successful arms deal bidders.
Reports say Jacobs became a household name in South Africa in 2001 when an influential publication Sunday broke a confidentiality agreement and identified him as President Thabo Mbeki’s "personal secret agent".
In 2003 he was arrested and later exonerated- for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mbeki.
The charge of conspiring to commit murder was watered down and finally dropped , it is said.
It is reported that at the time, Jacobs believed his one-time comrade and later nemesis, Mo Shaik, to be behind his surprise arrest.
They had both been involved in the ANC’s intelligence structures in the province in the early 1980s.
Between 1990 and 1994, Jacobs underwent intensive spy training at Moscow University’s Institute for Asian and African Studies.
When he returned to South Africa in November 1994, his multiple identities raised red flags at Home Affairs. Shaik vouched for him to facilitate his re-entry into the country.
Jacobs then went to work for Mbeki in the ANC’s Department of International Affairs, based at its Shell House headquarters.
Jacobs claimed to have been a paid agent of the South African Secret Service in the early 1990s under the name Hassan Osman.