Dlamini-Zuma – or­di­nary cit­i­zen, VIP pro­tec­tion

CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO zinhle.mapumulo@city­press.co.za

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have slammed the de­ci­sion by the SA Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) to of­fer pres­i­den­tial pro­tec­tion ser­vice to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

They have de­scribed this de­ci­sion as il­le­gal, un­con­sti­tu­tional and “an ap­palling abuse of po­lice re­sources”.

Zakhele Mb­hele, DA shadow min­is­ter of po­lice, said Dlamini-Zuma didn’t hold a po­si­tion in South Africa’s gov­ern­ment and she was not a vis­it­ing head of state. “She’s just an ANC party of­fi­cial,” he said. Cope pres­i­dent Mo­siuoa Lekota shared sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments, say­ing: “Dlamini-Zuma is nei­ther a state pres­i­dent can­di­date, MP or in a statu­tory po­lit­i­cal of­fice that en­ti­tles her to this spe­cial priv­i­lege pro­vided only for se­nior state of­fi­cials.”

Dlamini’s VIP con­voy ac­com­pa­nied her to Sa­sol­burg, Free State, to an ANC event, spark­ing ques­tions about why tax­pay­ers were still pay­ing for her se­cu­rity as she was no longer the chair­per­son of the African Union Com­mis­sion.

The SAPS, which is in charge of the Pres­i­den­tial Pro­tec­tion Unit (PPU), ar­gued that Dlamini-Zuma was un­der threat, thus hav­ing to pro­tect her.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Sally de Beer ex­plained that in terms of the PPU’s man­date, pro­tec­tion is pro­vided to the pres­i­dent and deputy pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of South Africa, for­mer pres­i­dents, for­eign heads of state and their spouses.

“The chair­per­son of the African Union is af­forded cour­te­sies given by Dirco [depart­ment of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion] with the sta­tus of pres­i­dent and while serv­ing in that ca­pac­ity, Dlamini-Zuma was pro­vided pro­tec­tion ac­cord­ing to this pre­script. Fur­ther pro­tec­tion is be­ing pro­vided to the for­mer African Union chair­per­son in­formed by the out­come of a se­cu­rity assess­ment con­ducted and on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in re­la­tion to threats directed at her per­son­ally.”

“For se­cu­rity rea­sons, the SAPS will not dis­cuss or de­lib­er­ate on any de­tails of the se­cu­rity af­forded to Dr Dlamini-Zuma, or in re­la­tion to the men­tioned threat and se­cu­rity assess­ment. That in it­self would con­sti­tute a breach of se­cu­rity,” added act­ing na­tional com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Kho­motso Phahlane.

How­ever, two weeks ago, the depart­ment of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion con­firmed to the Sun­day Times two weeks ago it had paid for Dlamini-Zuma’s blue-light con­voy and se­cu­rity de­tail as a “courtesy” she had to use while do­ing party work since her re­turn to the coun­try on March 15.

The ser­vices were sup­posed to be ex­tended to her only un­til the end of March.

Mb­hele said the DA will sub­mit par­lia­men­tary ques­tions to Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula to ask him to jus­tify this costly VIP pro­tec­tion for a per­son who is plainly not a VIP and for him to ex­plain these “threats”.

“If pub­lic money is to be spent on pro­tect­ing an ANC of­fi­cial, then the pub­lic must be in­formed of what se­ri­ous ‘threats’ ex­ist against Dlamini-Zuma, to jus­tify ex­pen­sive pro­tec­tion. The SAPS would be re­quired to keep a de­tailed record of these threats, and Mbalula must make this known to Par­lia­ment,” he said.

“Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Mbalula must be brought be­fore the court to ex­plain this bla­tant abuse of tax­pay­ers’ money,” Lekota added.

The Free­dom Front Plus also joined the out­cry yes­ter­day. Speak­ing to News24, party spokesper­son Pi­eter Groe­newald said if Dlamini-Zuma feels her life is in dan­ger she should avoid ar­eas where she feels un­safe.

“Dlamini-Zuma is not a pub­lic of­fi­cial and is there­fore not obliged to at­tend meet­ings. If she in­sists on at­tend­ing meet­ings, the ANC and its MK vet­er­ans should pro­tect her at their own ex­pense,” Groe­newald said.

The blue-light priv­i­lege story comes at a time when DlaminiZuma and Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa are seen as fron­trun­ners for the gov­ern­ing party’s top job to suc­ceed Ja­cob Zuma when he steps down in De­cem­ber as ANC pres­i­dent.

Mb­hele said by this, “Dlamini-Zuma is prov­ing her­self to be another Zuma from the start; us­ing state re­sources and pub­lic money with no re­gard for the rules.

“This smacks of a pub­lic-spon­sored VIP sta­tus to boost Dlamini-Zuma’s stature as she cam­paigns within the ANC. The DA ex­pects an­swers from Mbalula, and South Africa de­serves to know why an ANC of­fi­cial is re­ceiv­ing VIP pro­tec­tion at pub­lic ex­pense, with no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion made known yet.”

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