The South African has blown on the whistle on the number of bodyguards employed by the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU), which the DA has called “a blatant example of how the lives of the elite matter more to the ANC government than ordinary citizens lives”.
There are 81 PPU tasked with keeping senior officials and other VIPs, including Ramaphosa, his wife and Deputy President David Mabuza, safe.
DA spokesperson Zakhele Mbhele slammed what the party sees as excessive presidential protection. “While current and former heads of state and their spouses are safely protected‚ millions of South Africans live in constant fear of being the next victims of violent crime in our country.”
However, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole says the protection of senior dignitaries is a serious matter of state security and that the deployment of the 81 officers is not excessive. He says 17 politicians in total get the benefit of elite PPU protection.
The commissioner released a parliamentary report earlier in the month which revealed that 1‚382 protection officers make up the unit, which cost taxpayers R693 million in the last financial year.
Meanwhile, an annual report released by the SAPS has determined that that there is only one police officer for every 369 South Africans, suggesting our police force is severely understaffed.
The PPU elite presidential protection unit is nothing new. Jacob Zuma, his four wives, former presidents FW de Klerk‚ Thabo Mbeki‚ and Kgalema Motlanthe have all benefited from the protection of these bodyguards in the past.