Andre ZAAIMAN’s most recent position in Government (2014) was as an Advisor to Minister Lindiwe SISULU – then the Minister of Public Service and Administration in South Africa. He currently teaches and trains South African, African and UN personnel in early warning, strategic intelligence analysis and complexity as the Research & Innovation Director of the African Center for Security and Intelligence Studies (ACSIP).
He previously served in the Presidential Support Unit that advised President Thabo MBEKI on issues of conflict in Africa and the Middle East and in senior positions in the Secret Service, National Intelligence Agency and the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC) until he left Government in 2008.
He was a member of a five-person strategic Think Tank of Prime Minister Meles ZENAWI in Ethiopia from 2008 until his passing in 2012. It assisted the Prime Minister on developmental and diplomatic-security issues in Ethiopia and the region.
As the founding Director of the Goree Institute in Senegal, West-Africa – established following the 1987 meeting between a senior delegation of Afrikaners lead by Frederik VAN ZYL SLABBERT and a senior delegation of the then banned and exiled ANC lead by Thabo MBEKI – he worked across the African continent in both urban and rural settings, building the capabilities of public and civic organizations for self-reliance. He is co-author of the book “Managing towards self-reliance: organizational effectiveness in Africa”. He worked for nine years with President Abdou DIOUF when he was President of Senegal, on political dialogue, peace and Pan-African issues.
Andre was an activist in the anti-apartheid struggle and as a member of then banned and exiled ANC underground, was responsible for amongst other things, successfully gathering and interpreting intelligence and evidence on the secret death squads of the apartheid regime. His work as part of an ANC intelligence unit, included the covert exfiltration and first debriefings of Vlakplaas death squad commander Dirk Coetzee and several other members of both the Police and the old SADF Reconnaissance Commando in order to gather both evidence and intelligence.
As a staff-researcher he contributed a chapter in the book “Pursuing Peace and Justice in South Africa” by H.W. van der MERWE (1988); then Director of the Center for Intergroup Studies at UCT, and a Quaker pioneer that hosted the first meeting between Steve BIKO and Afrikaner student leaders in the 1970’s.
Andre was one of the organizers of the first public stand against military Conscription as part of the UDF-aligned End Conscription Campaign and the South African Objector Movement. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, he worked in one of the three secret tracks that lead to the democratic transition in South Africa. He lead many delegations – business leaders, political leaders, academics, intellectuals, youth and student leaders – in the 1980’s to the Southern African Frontline States to meet with Frelimo, Swapo, ZANU and the ANC in Lusaka; then banned and exiled. He spent time with the EPLF (Eritrea) and EPRDF (Ethiopia) during their struggles in the Horn of Africa in the early 1990’s and trained the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq in strategic intelligence analysis. He studied at University of the Free State in the 1980s until he was prohibited from further studies because of his political activities. He is pursuing a PhD in information and intelligence studies at Stellenbosch University. With two other specialists, he developed an intelligent-machine, early warning system for the detection and prevention of anti-biotic resistant nosocomial infections in Hospitals, which is currently being tested in a major private Hospital in Cape Town.
Later this year he will head back to West Africa for an extended Research Sabbatical in Senegal, the islands off the coast of Brazil, Polynesia and the Santa Fe Institute for Complexity in the USA, and then to China.
His life story was featured in several documentaries including “EAT MY CALL-UP” directed by Naashon ZALK which tells the story of four men who – facing lengthy jail terms and a potential charge of treason punishable by a death sentence – refused to “serve” in the South African Defense Force (SADF) in the 1980’s.