/ 3 December 2007

SAPS: Blade’s protection not up for discussion

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has declined to discuss the withdrawal of its protection services for South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande.

”It’s not something we can discuss in the public domain,” said national police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo on Monday.

This comes after the SACP’s claims on Sunday that Nzimande had been left without police protection because of the African National Congress (ANC) leadership struggle.

SACP spokesperson Jeremy Cronin said a police protection unit deployed at Nzimande’s home for several years was withdrawn on Friday night without reason.

”In the middle of the night, without the courtesy of a letter or even a phone call, the SAPS protection was hastily withdrawn.

”This happened notwithstanding a recent SAPS threat analysis that raised concerns and called for an increase in protection,” said Cronin.

Cronin said that while the SACP was now taking its own measures to ensure the safety of Nzimande and other SACP leaders, ”public safety is properly the responsibility of the state”.

Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus said that Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula should explain reasons as to why Nzimande had been receiving police protection at the cost of the taxpayers.

”What is so different about Nzimande? If it is about protection against ordinary crime then it is unacceptable,” said spokesperson Pieter Groenewald. — Sapa