South Africa 11.5.2017 03:56 pm

Ramaphosa ducks DA question on Dlamini-Zuma’s VIP protection

FILE PICTURE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: GCIS)

FILE PICTURE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: GCIS)

The deputy president was asked by DA leader Mmusi Maimane about the taxpayer-funded special protection from the Presidential Protection Unit.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday refrained from entering the fray surrounding his ANC presidential rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s taxpayer-funded special VIP protection in parliament.

Ramaphosa was in the National Assembly answering MPs’ questions when he was asked by DA leader Mmusi Maimane about the “flagrant state abuse” of taxpayers’ monies to provide the former African Union Commission chairperson protection from the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU), even though she held no position in government.

Maimane quipped about the request from President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers on Wednesday for the DA to hand over the so-called ‘intelligence report’ Zuma allegedly relied on to fire the then finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, in a much-criticised Cabinet reshuffle on March 30.

The DA leader said he had hoped that Police Minister Fikile Mbalula would not also request his party to bizarrely provide proof of a security assessment by the SA Police Service (SAPS) justifying the blue-light convoy and security provided to Dlamini-Zuma.

“We note, deputy president, that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an ordinary citizen, is receiving state protection on the basis of a security threat assessment. Part of the culture that is developing is that even the president used a report which you mentioned, an intelligence report, to remove [the] former finance minister, and worse, he’s asking us to give him that report.

“In the interest of accountability, I don’t want the minister of police to come here and ask us to give him a security assessment for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,” Maimane said.

Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane confirmed last week to MPs that Dlamini-Zuma was still receiving protection from the PPU, saying the SAPS’s assessments had confirmed security threats against the ANC official.

Ramaphosa brushed aside the question from Maimane, saying he would advise that the matter should be referred to parliament’s police portfolio committee.

“That is where the minister of police will be able to entertain and answer these questions, and I’m sure the minister will not say he [Maimane] should come up with an assessment report himself,” Ramaphosa responded.

Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa are seen as frontrunners for the ANC’s top job when President Zuma steps down as party leader in December.

The undisclosed security threats are widely believed to be used by Zuma and his faction in the governing party to reinforce Dlamini-Zuma’s unofficial presidential campaign ahead of the elective conference.

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