DA refers Police Minister and Commissioner to Public Protector for misleading Parliament on VIP Protection costs

Please find attached IsiZulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP

The DA will refer the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkwhebane, as we have reason to believe that Police leadership have not been transparent regarding the steep cost escalations in VIP Protection during the Zuma years.

Replies to DA Parliamentary questions have revealed that there has been no rational, objective basis for the exorbitant budget increase for the VIP Protection Services and Presidential Protection Services since 2010. In the last financial year alone, VIP Protection costs increased by over R100 million.

In late April, during Parliament’s Budget and Annual Performance Plans hearing on SAPS, I asked Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole for the reasons behind these increases. He stated that the cost escalations were based on “security threat assessments”.

However, a reply to a DA Parliamentary question last year, reveals that SAPS has done virtually no security threat assessments for individuals since 2010. Thus, the reason Sitole gave for the continuous, above-inflation budget escalations seems to be baseless on the available evidence.

Furthermore, a Parliamentary reply received last week, cites the “additional members of Cabinet [who] must be protected” as one of the reasons for the budget escalation. However, there has not been a year-on-year increase in the Cabinet size since 2010. In addition to this, the number of personal protectors assigned to Cabinet Ministers has stayed fairly constant since 2013, ranging from 382 to 405 each year.

The same reply also claims “an increase in manifested threats against VIPs” as one of the reasons for the escalated budget. However, how can SAPS give this as a reason with hardly any security assessments done for the past 8 years?

It is clear that both the Minister and the Police Commissioner are not forthcoming as to the reasons why costs of VIP Protection Services have ballooned from R353 million in 2008/09 to R1.5 billion in 2018/19.

So far the only reasonable conclusion is that all the cost escalations happened within the Presidential Protection Service and is further evidence of how Jacob Zuma received direct, unreasonable and undue benefit from public resources. It’s basically another Nkandla-type scandal and we don’t know if it entails an increase in the number of personnel as attempts to obtain this information were rebuffed because “disclosure of this information in itself can pose a serious risk to the effective protection of the President and Deputy President”.

The ANC spends more money on VIP Protection than they do on land reform, which begs the question – is the ANC serious about land reform and building a safe and equitable society?

It is clear that the ANC government prioritises the safety of politicians, in the feathered nest of the executive elite, over that of ordinary people who are ambushed by crime in their homes, in public spaces and places of work. Only a DA-led government will bring the kind of change that ensures that the police service is more professional, efficient and effective to ensure that our streets and homes are safer for all South Africans.

If Mbete will not, Mbalula must provide protection for Dr Khoza

The DA will write to Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to request that he provide VIP Protection to Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Dr Makhosi Khoza, given that National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, has ignored calls for assistance and intervention after Dr Khoza received death threats.
ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu, has written to Mbete as well as ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe, about Dr Khoza’s safety concern yet no official commitment to protect Dr Khoza has been forth coming.
While the ANC-led government remains silent on Dr Khoza’s protection, despite her receiving many death threats, millions of taxpayers’ money has been spent on protection for Jacob Zuma’s intended successor, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Despite the fact that Dlamini-Zuma does not hold public office, she is still protected by the VIP Presidential Protection Unit as she travels around the country campaigning.
The double standards are there for all to see.
The safety of many other prominent South African political leaders does not matter to the ANC government, but Dlamini-Zuma has been afforded the highest standard of chauffeured safety because she is a part of the ANC’s connected few.
While the DA believes that overall too much is spent frivolously on VIP Protection – due to our bloated Cabinet that is overinflated for political reasons of Zuma accommodating cronies, in the case of Dr Khoza, there is a clear need to provide this protection to her and her family.
We are continuing to see how the Zuma ANC continue to protect their own elite politicians, rather than the people they are supposed to serve.
Mbalula must commit to protect Dr Khoza and not leave her to fend for herself in the face of multiple threats and possible imminent danger just because she has stood up against corruption and state capture.

NDZ “VIP” protection: Mbalula must urgently account to Parliament

Yesterday, Acting National Police Commissioner, Khomotso Phahlane, confirmed to Parliament that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who holds no office in South Africa’s government, continues to receive protection from the Presidential Protection unit while she travels around the country to campaign within the ANC.
Now almost a month since the Dlamini-Zuma “VIP” scandal was exposed, Minister Fikile Mbalula has done nothing to stop it. This is an outrageous failure by the Minister, as VIP Presidential Protection costs hundreds of thousands, if not millions of rands, for a person who holds no public office in service of the people of South Africa – she is merely an ANC party official.
I will therefore write to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Police Committee, Francois Beukman, to request that he urgently summon Minister Mbalula, to appear before the Committee. I believe this is urgent as every day that passes racks up further expense for the public on an ANC official who does not deserve Presidential Protection.
Mbalula must explain to Parliament:
1) Why ANC Presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, continues to receive presidential protection since this scandal was exposed almost a month ago;
2) Who authorised the continuation of Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential protection since the scandal was exposed;
3) On what basis Dlamini-Zuma deserves the highest protection the state can offer: the Presidential level of security.
The DA has already asked Parliamentary Questions of Minister Mbalula on how much, exactly, has been spent from public money on protecting Dlamini-Zuma while she remains only an ANC official. We have also asked why the Presidential Protection Unit continues to protect and transport Dlamini-Zuma around South Africa.
We are yet to receive answers from Mbalula on these critical Parliamentary Questions.
The fact is that prominent leaders in South Africa, of political parties and other organisations, and those who hold seats in government, are threatened on a daily basis, yet are not afforded any protection services. Their safety is ignored, while Dlamini-Zuma has been afforded the Rolls-Royce of safety at the Presidential level, for no apparent reason other than that she is an ANC insider.
One such unprotected leader is the SACP’s second deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, who had a gun pointed at him at a ceremony to commemorate Chris Hani recently, without the Presidential Protection Services being rolled out for him. This disparity leaves serious questions unanswered about why Dlamini-Zuma receives such political preference.
It is time for Mbalula to account for the most expensive resources being wasted on protecting an ANC elite official, while other prominent leaders and South Africans are left to fend for themselves in the face of clear and present danger.
Mbalula must answer to Parliament, and the DA will not rest until the public money wasted on protecting Dlamini-Zuma is fully accounted for.

VIP protection for NDZ: Mbalula must answer to Parliament about "threats"

The DA condemns, as an appalling abuse of police resources, the ongoing VIP protection afforded to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Ms Dlamini-Zuma holds no position in South Africa’s government and is not a visiting head of state. She is, at present, just an ANC party official.
The SAPS in a statement argued that Dlamini-Zuma has received “threats,” as such, 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.”
The DA questions will include:
1. On what dates was Ms Dlamini-Zuma threatened and to what level these threats extend;
2. How many threat assessments have been conducted and on what dates respectively; and
3. What is the cost of the VIP protection for Ms Dlamini-Zuma to date?
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.
At a time when public safety is increasingly under threat from brazen criminals, when army bases and police stations are themselves being robbed, cash van bandits are using explosives on highways and when OR Tambo international airport could be robbed of millions of rands undetected, it is clear that policing priories should be on protecting the public from criminals, not on protecting another ANC official.
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.