Malema loses guards after threat audit

2010-10-13 13:53

A recent reassessment of the threat against ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s safety has necessitated the withdrawal of police bodyguards, police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo has said.

“Initially a threat assessment was done, and it warranted the provision of protection,” said Naidoo.

Malema’s office was notified of this on October 6, said Naidoo.

He would not give details of how much the bodyguards cost the taxpayers, saying this would give an indication of the level of protection a person was awarded.

He said “even you” can request protection if you think it is necessary, in response to a question on whether Malema was entitled to the bodyguards.

Lobby group AfriForum wrote to the national commissioner of police asking what the threat was, and claimed it was costing the taxpayer R300?000 a month.

AfriForum was told this was classified information.

Last November police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said: “Malema wrote us a letter saying his life was in danger. Our crime intelligence then investigated and sent recommendations to the police commissioner.”

Invited to comment on the withdrawal of the bodyguards, league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said it would be irresponsible to discuss Malema’s security issues.

A spokesperson for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was not immediately available after a suggestion in The Star that the move might be related to the ANC’s succession battle.

The theory, according to unnamed ANC insiders, was that it should be seen in the context of the party’s succession battle and Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, Malema’s biggest ally, being at loggerheads with Mthethwa and national police commissioner Bheki Cele.

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