Suspicion resides in silent recall

In the current adversarial climate characterising relations between the ANC and its alliance partners, the mystery removal of police protection for SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande raises eyebrows.

In the current adversarial climate characterising relations between the ANC and its alliance partners, the mystery removal of police protection for SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande raises eyebrows.

Particularly curious is not so much the hasty manner in which the South African Police Services withdrew the service than the official silence that has followed the move. The silence, or police hesitation to divulge reasons for the decision, has fuelled suspicions that this episode is not unconnected to tensions within and without the ANC over the presidential contest between President Thabo Mbeki and the party's deputy president, Jacob Zuma.

Nzimande is a well-known ally of Zuma and tensions between him and Mbeki are common knowledge.

The SACP leader is reported to have received mysterious death threats as relations between the party and ANC became frosty in recent weeks.

This has revived memories of the unexplained withdrawal of security for the late SACP secretary-general Chris Hani shortly before he was assassinated, which is still a thorny issue in alliance circles.

Until police publicly divulge reasons that precipitated the recall of security, the motive will remain the subject of public conjecture.

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