In a statement on Monday, the DA’s shadow minister of police Zakhele Mbhele said the party would be writing to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to request that he provide VIP protection to public service and administration portfolio committee chairperson Dr Makhosi Khoza after she received death threats.
It was reported on the weekend that she was threatened in a cellphone message, among other ongoing threats, that she would be dead within weeks if she continued with her call for ANC MPs to vote with their conscience against President Jacob Zuma.
The message was allegedly traced to a Black First Land First (BLF) number, according to a Daily Maverick report, which the BLF said was not true.
The DA believes the threats against Khoza should be taken seriously and the police should step in after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete allegedly “ignored calls” from Khoza “for assistance and intervention”.
Mbhele said ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had written to Mbete about Khoza’s safety concerns, “yet no official commitment to protect Dr Khoza has been forthcoming”.
“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,” wrote Mbhele.
He was referring to reports in April that ANC presidential hopeful Dlamini-Zuma continued to receive VIP protection despite her having no role in government.
Mbalula defended her VIP treatment.
The department of international relations and cooperation confirmed it had paid for Dlamini-Zuma’s blue-light convoy and security detail as a “courtesy” for her while she was doing “party work” since her return to the country on March 15.
Mbhele said: “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.”