The constitutional democracy South Africa has been for the past 26 years has not apparently stretched as far as allowing the country’s presidents, Cabinet ministers and other VIPs to move without protection.
A total of R1.7 billion a year is spent on ensuring the security of current President Cyril Ramaphosa and what the response to a Parliamentary question indicated is 209 VIPs, without identifying them or their positions in national, provincial or local government or elsewhere in the myriad of agencies, bureaux and parastatal entities.
This equates to R8 million per VIP for the current financial year (2021/22) was Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow police minister Andrew Whitfield’s comment on Minister Bheki Cele’s written reply to his question.
The reply is signed off by national police commissioner general Khehla Sitole who was last week asked by Ramaphosa to “make representations as to why he should not be suspended” according to a statement from The Presidency. It goes on to indicate “scrutiny” will be placed on Sitole’s fitness to hold office.
The country’s senior police office notes in the reply to Whitfield’s question – apparently tabled by Minister Cele – providing information on how many police officers serve in the SAPS (SA Police Service) VIP protection unit would compromise the safety and security of the VIPs they are assigned to.
The same response was given as regards the number and types of vehicles the specialist unit has as its disposal.