Moe Shaik – What is our “National Interest”

moeshaiknationalinterest

Moe Shaik is the Head of the South African Secret Service. Moe has served in the internal underground structures of the ANC, during the fight against Apartheid, where his duties involved the collection and analysis of intelligence. Post 1994 he was part of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) team that facilitated the amalgamation of services into the new dispensation of intelligence in South Africa. He went on to serve as the Head of Ministerial Services to the Ministry of Intelligence Services.

In 1998 he was appointed as the South African Consul-General in Hamburg. He then became the South African Ambassador to the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria. Between 2003-2004 he became the special adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Policy Research and Analysis.

About this Conversation

We spoke with Moe at his home, where he shared with us a number of insights specifically around his views on National Interest and what it means in a world where the balance of power is shifting on a global scale.  He offers his perspectives in the context of  an interrelated and interconnected world. He described National Interest as “ people centred efforts at ensuring the well being of people to achieve prosperity while at the same time taking care of the planet”.

We discussed the shifting of global power structuring, the impacts of increased globalization on all aspects of life and the factors that destabilize nations.

We further, dissect some of the challenges facing our democracy and the need to balance national development, with regional and global development.  We talk about the importance of creating space for democratic dialogues within the country around matters of national interest and identity, while taking cogniscance of our future as being aligned to that of the region – therefore we cannot exist in “Fortress South Africa”.

Other conversations included; the impact of non state actors, including large corporations and organized movements that lobby for changes and positions on a global level; and the need for a modernized government which has the capacity to act effectively and quickly – while absorbing all the requirements of a developmental approach to governance. This he referred to as, “just in time government.

Points of Discussion

  • Can you define for us what is National Interest and is it still relevant?
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  • How do we protect our National Interest given the rise of the Internet and peoples ability to communicate cross border instantaneously?
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  • How do you balance the tension between national interest and individual liberties?
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  • Youth unemployment is seen as a key risk to the stability of the country, what is your view on this?
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  • What are the challenges to South Africa’s national interest?
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  • How does this impact on viable opposition?
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  • If you look at South Africa, people seem fragmented and have very little that unite them, are this challenge?
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  • How do citizens get behind the national interest and does the national interest take precedent over the citizens personal interests?
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  • Is corruption a government only issue or is the private sector also guilty of corruption?
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  • Is our constitution under threat?
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