Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Whistleblower on KZN violence demands bodyguards

Whistleblower Thabiso Zulu is preparing to go to court to force the police to provide him with bodyguards after the State Security Agency (SSA) found that he needed “urgently” to be protected.

Zulu gave evidence at the Moerane commission of inquiry into the political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, about corruption in the Umzimkhulu local municipality and the murder of former ANC Youth League deputy secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.

He also wants answers from KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu on why he has failed to meet his public commitment to ensure the safety of witnesses.

READ MORE: KZN premier to receive Moerane Commission report

Last year, Zulu went public about corruption in the municipality after the murder of Magaqa — his friend and a municipal councillor.

He said the commission appointed by Mchunu is a response to the surge in political killings in KwaZulu-Natal since 1995, and that police crime intelligence and senior politicians were complicit in the violence. The commission’s report is currently before the provincial legislature and will be made public 21 days after it is sent back to the premier.

Zulu has since asked for state protection for himself and Umzimkhulu ANC member and whistleblower Les Stuta. Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said the threat to their lives must be assessed and that the police must provide them with protection.

A threat assessment conducted by the SSA in May, which the Mail & Guardian has seen, stated that an agency team looking into the matter had found that the two were being followed, and that they were at risk. The assessment found that the two “urgently require protection from the state” and should be provided with “individual private protection”.

The assessment was sent to Mkhwebane’s office and to the police but little action has been taken. Mkhwebane’s office wrote to Police Minister Bheki Cele in June, requesting that the recommendations be acted upon.

This week Zulu, who is guarded by two minders paid for by a friend, told the M&G he was “tired of being hunted like an animal” and was preparing to go to court.

“I cannot understand why the state won’t act on its own recommendations and provide us with protection. For now I am okay, because a friend has provided this security, but for how long?” Zulu said. “It is as if they have passed the stage of wanting to provide me with protection and are waiting for me to be killed.”

He said it seemed that court was the only way, adding that arguments — made by the police in the past — that they could not provide “ordinary” citizens with protection of this kind was “nonsense”.

“The children of Bathabile Dlamini were given SAPS [South African Police Service] bodyguards on the basis of a threat assessment. They are not employees of the state. When Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma came back from the African Union she was an ordinary citizen, not even an MP, yet she received protection. What about us?” he asked.

READ MORE: Glebelands Hostel: The scene of many murders

On Wednesday the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), on behalf of Zulu, wrote to Cele, giving him seven days to provide Zulu with protection, failing which they would go to court.

In the letter the LRC said the police have the constitutionally mandated duty to prevent the commission of a life-threatening crime. “Despite the report recommending that [he] be afforded protection, nothing has been done. Mr Zulu continues to live in fear of his life,” it said.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo did not respond to queries. Thami Ngidi, spokesperson for Mchunu, said Cele and the premier’s office “are addressing the matter of security of the Moerane commission witnesses. These processes are confidential and will be handled with all the sensitivity they deserve.”

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Bloated Sassa to make staff cuts

The social security agency has ‘lost’ R2-billion on unnecessary salaries and through wasteful expenditure

SANDF’s ‘dignity’ comes with a R200mn price tag

Find out about the SANDF’s new uniform, which is costing taxpayers close to R200-million, while mission-critical equipment is not maintained

More top stories

Phiyega bid to sidestep Marikana massacre dismissed

Ex-police commissioner Riah Phiyega hoped to quash findings including colluding in a cover-up and misleading the public about what happened at the platinum mine in 2012.

Warring ANC factions united in questioning SAA deal

Four unhappy high-ranking party members say the SAA sale was never discussed at the NEC

Ice skating champion shows off the Cape Flats talent at...

A young ice-skating champion has beaten the odds and brought home a national gold medal

Study finds too much salt can damage immune cell function

The study investigated how sodium intake affects human cells by giving participants 6g of salt in tablet form each day for 14 days, while they continued with their normal diets.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…