SAPS Defends Dlamini-Zuma On VIP protection: The Congress of the People (Cope) has slammed the South African Police Service (SAPS) for providing a presidential protection unit to President Jacob Zuma’s ex-spouse Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The party’s criticism comes after it emerged that Dlamini-Zuma still parades the country with top security despite neither being a Cabinet minister or Member of Parliament.
The government had earlier announced that Dlamini- Zuma’s VIP protection cost would no longer be funded by taxpayers since she has handed over to a new AU chairperson.
But on April 2, the ANC presidential hopeful was spotted at Luthuli House, flanked by heavy armed security personnel in a three blue-light escort.
In response to the viral criticism, the SAPS on Friday admitted in a statement that the former AU chairperson still moves around fully protected.
Although this was meant to expire on March 31, the police explained that she was allowed to keep using the VIP protection based on a “threat and security assessment” – at the expense of taxpayers.
SAPS’ statement read: “Dr. Dlamini-Zuma continues to receive protection from the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU) of the South African Police Service‚ fully in accordance with their mandate and prescripts‚ informed by a threat and security assessment.”
Zuma’s ex-spouse was given presidential protection services by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation – which are usually extended to the serving president‚ deputy president and former presidents in terms of the presidential protection unit’s mandate.
The statement added: “Additional protection being provided to Dlamini-Zuma was informed by the outcome of a security assessment conducted and ongoing investigations in relation to threats directed at her person.
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.”
Nkosazana returned from Addis Ababa on March 15 after a handover process to her successor‚ Moussa Faki Mahamat‚ who was elected in January. She returned home to fight for ANC presidency at the party’s elective conference, scheduled to hold in December.
Currently, she sits at the top of the contenders’ list and is widely seen as the next president of the ruling party, having garnered the support of her former husband – Jacob Zuma – and a host of Zuma’s loyalists.
Trained as a doctor at the University of Bristol, Nkozana isn’t green-horned in the political sphere. She was once South Africa’s health minister during the Mandela-led regime that rolled out in 1994.
After taking office in 1999, former President Thabo Mbeki crowned her South Africa’s foreign minister and she manned the post for a decade. Then in 1999, she was reassigned to the home affairs.
In 2005, she was offered the Deputy Presidency of South Africa by Thabo Mbeki after he fired Jacob Zuma but she refused the position. Mbeki still refutes claims that he fired Zuma.
On 22 September 2008, Dlamini-Zuma resigned along with 10 other ministers of the South African cabinet, the deputy president, and the president. In 2009, she was suggested as a possible ANC candidate for the Presidency in the 2009 election and for the leadership of the party but the bid failed.
On 15 July 2012, Dlamini-Zuma was elected by the African Union Commission as its chairperson, making her the first woman to lead the organization.
Dlamini-Zuma was born in Natal, in KwaZulu-Natal province. She met President Jacob Zuma while working as a doctor at the Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland. Their marriage crashed in 1998. The union produced four children.