SAPS removes guards for chief

Reports by Eric Naki

Reports by Eric Naki

The SACP claims party general secretary Blaze Nzimande is being targeted for "punishment" because the ANC nomination process favoured ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma.

The party is questioning the timing of the state's move to withdraw SAPS VIP protection for Nzimande, who has been without state-sponsored bodyguards since last Friday.

SACP deputy secretary-general Jeremy Cronin told journalists at the conclusion of the party's augmented central committee meeting yesterday that Nzimande's bodyguards were removed last Friday without explanation.

"In the middle of the night, without the courtesy of a letter or even a phone call, the SAPS protection unit deployed for several years at our general secretary's home was hastily withdrawn.

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

He said the party saw this as "misguided punishment" for the outcome of last week's ANC provincial general council's nomination process.

"Do some of our colleagues in high places actually share the same delusion as the apartheid regime that communists are behind all their misfortunes?" Cronin asked.

The party raised the concern publicly in the hope that this would prompt an immediate reversal of the move

"We are, of course, taking our own measures to ensure the safety of Comrade Nzimande and other leadership of the SACP but public safety is properly the responsibility of the state."

National police spokesman Vish Naidoo declined to comment specifically on Nzimande's case, but said VIP protection service is withdrawn when the SAPS is satisfied that it is no longer necessary.

Ask if that was the case with Nzimande, Naidoo said: "I can't comment on that."