Jacob Zuma is not president of the US

2012-01-30 07:57

Chris Moerdyk

I suppose it isn’t really President Zuma's fault that our military establishment and police protection services treat him as though he is the President of the United States.

Or, that they tend to treat female deputy ministers as though they are Hillary Clinton.

That's what it certainly looks like to me with those backup jets shadowing our president and blue light brigades bashing their way through peak-hour traffic to get ministers and their deputies as well as provincial premiers and MECs to meetings.

I was speaking to a deputy minister recently who was complaining that he had a meeting to go to and that it would have been a lot easier if he could drive himself instead of waiting for his official car and the blue light brigade to get their act together.

"Well, why don’t you just do it," I asked.

"I can’t, " he answered quite sadly actually and then added, "the thing is that all ministers and deputy ministers have to abide by security protocols that are laid down  by the police protection services and in some cases the military and even if we wanted to just drive ourselves there is no way we are allowed to."

So, even if President Zuma wanted to just hop onto an SAA flight to New York and sit in economy class with the rests of us, he would actually be breaking the law. And the trouble, I suppose, is that if Parliament had to change the law the police and military would probably just refuse to do any sort of protection at all.

Right now it is completely over the top and we desperately need to bring some sanity to the situation.

But, where did it all start? Who was the bright spark who hit on the idea of chase planes and blue light brigades?

Well, I am told we can thank former US Vice President, Dick Cheney. Apparently, when he visited the country he offered to assist our authorities with setting up personal security protocols for government ministers.

With the result that we now have cowboy gunslinger laws with chase planes - which are going to continue to be used in spite of President Zuma flying to Qatar and Davos in just one plane - as well as extremely arrogant blue light brigade drivers and crews who seem to have this notion that every ordinary citizen on the roads can't possibly have anything important to do and therefore does not qualify to be treated as anything else but some sort of irritating little spit-beetle.

 What really astounds me  is that our government doesn’t seem to be all that fond of the United States administration and tends to fight them at every turn from the future of Burma, the Dalai Lama, the  invasion of Iraq, the Palestine question and how to get rid of Libyan leaders.

So, one has to wonder why on earth they were so keen to take lessons from them with regard to what can only be described as gung-ho, wild-west, kickass security protocols?

I certainly agree that our president and some ministers  need security but then so do some of our top business leaders and doctors who can arguably be on just as important assignments as Cabinet ministers and who, quite frankly, are just as vulnerable.

Frankly, it’s all just extremely expensive and in most cases it’s not so much about security as playing with lights and sirens, sticking guns in motorists' faces and childishly showing off.

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  • MarkH - 2012-01-30 08:16

    Think you summed it up pretty well in your final’s not so much about security as playing with lights and sirens, sticking guns in motorists' faces and childishly showing off. But then that's standard practice in Africa and goes hand in hand with ripping off the taxpayers, corruption, nepotism and playing with other things they don't understand like economies, labour laws, individual rights, accountability, education, health, infrastructure........

      Dirk - 2012-01-30 08:31

      Who on earth would want to harm them. They are so useless in what they are doing that an adversary would certainly not. They can only fear harm from within.

      Dirk - 2012-01-30 18:07

      You would be surprised. I have been in the presence of them all since 1991, and shaken hands, not because I am an ally but because they know that I am not a killer, no matter how much I dislike their politics

      Edward - 2012-01-30 21:37

      @author; Don't follow the lead of the US. You wouldn't believe how much it costs every time the pres. gets on Air Force One. Not only him but his security detail and then there are the F-16s that follow him. It runs in R1,454,000 per hour. By my calculations that's R26,172,000 for a one way to SA.

      Spyker - 2012-01-31 10:23

      Well.., they managed to ban the 'Blue Lights Brigades', in the Western Cape, without too much trouble...

  • Hendrik - 2012-01-30 09:33

    If all else fails EGO prevails….

  • Willie - 2012-01-30 10:01

    You are all wrong, they are scared stiff for their own ANCies who are gunning for their positions, that is why they need all this cowboy type protection.

  • Samora - 2012-01-30 10:58

    when an anc official is murdered, 1st suspect is a colleague who was competing for the same position, or someone you have an evidence dossier against, or someone from the "other" camp in the same party. or the wife. so all the protection from us citizens is pointless because the real threat is always from someone they know

  • Evan - 2012-01-30 11:48

    About time someone wrote this article... I would hasten to add...that following security protocol is more than likely just an excuse, lets ask the question, "how many heads of state have been blown up or attacked whilst flying form one country to another recently?" It's not warranted to have a little 'escort service' Mr Zuma. In broad scheme of things he is just not important enough. Furthermore, who exactly was going to attack on route to the USA? What a waste of money, I wonder when the government will use taxes paid by the people for the people, not just certain people?

  • Dries - 2012-01-30 11:57

    Plain ignorance, arrogance, stupidity, etc, etc,!

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-30 12:06

    This is just another instance of legislative statute that is inherently stupid and evil. No law can prevent any natural man from moving himself to another place in whatever way he chooses. This clearly shows that Zuma the natural man is a different person, to ZUMA the president, which is a figment of man's imagination.

  • duane.loubser - 2012-01-30 12:18

    I got caught behind one last Thursday night at about 22h30 from PTA to Joburg. I don't know who is having "important" meetings at that time but anyway. There were about 12 cars/vans in a convoy and they literally took over the entire highway.. Cars in front of them were forced into the far left lane while they over-took. A few cars (including myself) tried to overtake them when the convoy was going slowly on an uphill, but these motorists were then faced with two options, either keep a safe distance or be forced off the road, the one lady (looked in her 50's) almost crashed into the back of a van in the convoy when she got "too close" and the van driver slammed on his brakes. She was so scared after that, she stayed about 500m behind them. They just bullied everyone else on the road and were extremely dangerous, aggressive and reckless. I can see why accidents have occurred and why people have been hurt or killed, & for what? What could be so important at 22h30 on a Thursday night?

      Perfume5 - 2012-01-30 12:22

      They are watching to much American movies!

  • Makatikamusona - 2012-01-30 13:56

    The fact is Mr Zuma is the President of the Country and therefore it is the military’s duties to ensure he is protected by all cost and they must responsibility for his safety. If it is suspected that he is under threat all action should be taken to guarantee his safety even if it means shadowing with 3 other plane. It is high time we realize and acknowledge that the President is not just a citizen, the sooner we get to get that one the better.

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-30 14:08

      Its high time you realize he's not a president , he's the Zulu Chief of South Africa , with the ceremonial wifes to prove it! Damn the man.

      Makatikamusona - 2012-01-30 14:16

      That is very stupid of you to live in a dreamland, wake up and face reality

      Thabang - 2012-01-30 14:51

      maybe Mr jody.beggs he is living in a world of his own

      Robert - 2012-01-30 21:06

      Sorry, Check the rules and laws of the country. Military is to protect the people of SA from aggression from outside the country. Unfortunately the blue light brigade post 1994 were trained by Quantico FBI and subsequently there has been a home grown growth of strange ideas of VIP security. Fond memories of former Minister Dullah Omar getting out of a car after blue light escort convoy in Port Elizabeth and stating to all involved "Enough is enough do it again and and I will personally charge you all" Meek like lambs were the brigade after that. Where is the new Mr Omar?

      tiens.zietsman - 2012-01-30 21:11

      My view is that the only value of the shadowing planes will be to provide a GPS fix in case the Zuma plane went down. But then, I can be wrong, so makatika, I humbly request that you enlighten us to the real purpose of those other planes?

      Rodney - 2012-01-30 22:19

      the ignorance is rife on news24 . the prez is entitled to protection . he is the first citizen .you folk sure are a nasty bunch please refrain from spilling your racist , idiotic comments here u are just shaming yourselfs

      tshepo.sello - 2012-01-31 15:22

      I agree with you Makatika, please don't waste your time with people who don't want to accept reality, they can complain all they want but the FACT remains remains that Zuma is our president and the ANC rules and it will continue to rule, the sooner you bitches get that through your thick skulls the better

  • Brolloks - 2012-01-30 14:14

    Mnr Moerdyk, dalk is alles waar wat jy sê, maar jy moet dit ook in die konteks van die laaste 50 jaar van (Suid) Afrika se geskiedenis sien. Die vorige NP regering het ook onder Reagan geswig oor die kwessies in Angola, Namibië en die feit dat die langste aanloopbaan vir Amerikaanse vliegtuie, buite die VSA, in Botswana is. Ons is nie nou vir hulle prioriteit nie, aangesien die "olie-krisis" in die noorde en midde-ooste meer geld beteken. Solank die suide min of meer gedestabiliseerd is, sal dit inpas by die langtermyn plan?

  • Sally - 2012-01-30 14:19

    So if some group or organization wants to shoot the presidents plane out of the sky, what are the chase planes going to do about it? If the attackers are capable of shooting down one largish plane, surely they can then take down three. So all this chase plane nonesense sounds like a good excuse to make some cash on the side for one or more folks that handle, plan and order these kinds of escapades. Sounds like a pile of bollocks to me.

  • PGPops - 2012-01-30 15:15

    Yip. Status matters most in Africa.

  • Muenda - 2012-01-31 11:24

    Had it been Verwoeerd, Df Malan or Hetzog we would not be having boers like you exposing your own denialism.Black People are here to rule until Jesus come. Any other way white people are bound to loose in this land of my forefathers. SOUTH AFRICA WILL BE FREE..ITS A MATTER OF TIME.

      flysouth - 2012-01-31 13:44

      "SOUTH AFRICA WILL BE FREE..ITS A MATTER OF TIME. " You obviously did not get the memo, around 1994 if I recall!

      Brett - 2012-01-31 14:09

      You will only be free when you remove the massive chip from your shoulder.

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