Dr Niel Barnard

Head: South African National Intelligence Service (NIS) 1980-1992
He was the head of South Africa’s National Intelligence Service who recognized the security of his nation depended on the man his state had incarcerated. Dr Barnard secretly visited Nelson Mandela many times in prison and treated him not as a terrorist, but as a political representative.
At their first meeting in a prison office, Mandela was in the standard prison uniform of overall and boots. For subsequent meetings Dr Barnard ensured that Mandela was given a suit to wear and the setting was more neutral. And this was how the future president of South Africa came face to face with the current president, P.W Botha and then De Klerk.
It took all of Dr Barnard’s security skills to ensure that these talks remained unknown to the rest of the government so that a genuine consensus could be found between the two leaders before their talks became public.
At a time when many white South Africans hoped their security services would fight with everything at their disposal to continue white control, Dr Barnard put his country, not his colour first.