1,382 Presidential Protection Unit bodyguards protect 17 people, MPs told

South Africa News


DA MP Zak Mbhele says the ratio of 81 highly trained police members for each of the 17 people being looked after by the Presidential Protection Unit is shocking.


FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Figures revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele show that there are 1,382 people employed in the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU), which until recently was responsible for looking after just 17 people.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the figures show a ratio of 81 close protectors for each individual, a far cry from the national ratio of one police member to every 369 people.

The PPU is responsible for security for the president, deputy president, former presidents, deputy presidents and their spouses, as well as the Director-General in the Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi.

DA MP Zak Mbhele says the ratio of 81 highly trained police members for each of the 17 people being looked after by the Presidential Protection Unit is shocking.

“The ratio that the parliamentary reply shows is absolutely astounding.”

Mbhele says in Nyanga near Cape Town, dubbed the murder capital of the world, it’s estimated that there is only one police officer for every 628 residents, much lower than the national average.

“The political elites are extremely well catered for in some very comfortable and feathered nests of protection, while communities that are ravaged by violence and crime have the most meagre resource allocation.”

Cele’s reply shows that the unit has cost the country just under R2 billion for the past three financial years.

A police ministry spokesperson was not immediately able to comment.

‘PEDDLING INCORRECT INFORMATION’

The Police Ministry has hit back at DA claims that there are 81 protectors for each of 17 people looked after by the Presidential Protection Unit.

The unit falls under the SA Police Service.

Police ministry spokesperson Reneilwe Serero said: “As the South African Police we dispute it and the information provided in that statement is very much misleading and is peddling incorrect information. It is very, very inaccurate.”

Cele, in his reply, gave the current staff establishment of the Presidential Protection Unit as 1,382.

But Serero says this is not the case.

“1,382 is a number that encompasses all support staff services members, planning officers, members that do operational duties and static staff as well.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)




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