Police minister and President’s office deny compromising Zuma’s security

MK Party leader leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Ihsaan HAFFEJEE / AFP

MK Party leader leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Ihsaan HAFFEJEE / AFP

Published Apr 1, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele have denied accusations by the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) that MK leader, Jacob Zuma’s security measures had been deliberately weakened.

The Police Ministry also dismissed demands from the MK Party for more VIP protection for Zuma following a car accident on Tuesday, where his car was alleged to have been the target of a drunk motorist who drove onto Zuma’s side of the car on purpose.

The MK Party said its leader’s convoy was targeted by the allegedly drunk driver who drove into an armoured state vehicle transporting Zuma, while he was on his way from Eshowe to his Nkandla homestead after a night of campaigning for his party.

The 51-year-old man was arrested and is expected to appear in the Eshowe Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

In a statement on Friday, the party accused the ANC, the police and Ramaphosa of driving a deliberate attack against Zuma including using the courts, the legal system, and state resources to sabotage and expose the former president to danger, including through the dilapidated state of his protection services and vehicles.

“In a series of events that cannot be deemed coincidental, the MK Party is extremely concerned over the safety and security of President Jacob Zuma... We have been observing and monitoring a sequence of inter-related events that have taken place under Cyril Ramaphosa’s government that ought to be communicated to South Africans, which took place after President Zuma’s announcement on the 16th of December that he is going to vote and campaign for the MK Party,” the party’s spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndhlela, said.

The closure of Zuma’s FNB accounts, the attempt to prevent the party from using the name MK, and failure by the ANC to act against other leaders who in the past had voted against the new party, were some of the other issues of concern.

“Let it be also noted that Minister Bheki Cele had an impromptu meeting with President Zuma at a hotel and after that meeting a ‘random car’ was involved in a car accident with President Zuma’s motorcade.

“It is (of) serious concern that President Zuma’s security detail and resources, including his vehicle fleet, are alarmingly outdated and in disrepair, significantly contrasting with the provisions accorded to other former Presidents. His home security too, has been compromised and continuously weakened, posing a significant risk to his safety by the same Bheki Cele, obviously, with the endorsement of the Cyril Ramaphosa led ANC government,” the MK Party said.

Reacting to the accusations, Police Ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said they had noted the calls and demands for Cele to be “questioned on the security details” of Zuma, and added that the minister was satisfied over Zuma’s security detail.

“Following a thorough briefing to the ministry by the management of the South African Police Service (Saps) the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele is satisfied that the current security deployed for the protection of Mr Zuma is sufficient and on a par with other former Heads of States.

“The ministry finds the call made by the uMkhonto We Sizwe Party spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndhlela; for the Minister of Police to be ‘questioned on Jacob Zuma’s security details’ reckless and out of order,” Themba said

Themba said the ministry and the SAPS will not be divulging any security details of any current or former head of state of the Republic of South Africa.

Responding to The Star, presidential spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the security details of the former president were a matter for the police.

“This is an SAPS matter. The Presidency is not a security agency or a law enforcement authority. The SAPS is the one responsible for the protection of sitting and former heads of state, and not the Presidency,” he said.

The Star

[email protected]