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Cyril Ramaphosa, David Mabuza shun bodyguards who served Zuma

Former presidential bodyguard Major-General Muzingaye Mxolisi Dladla, top left.
Former presidential bodyguard Major-General Muzingaye Mxolisi Dladla, top left.
Image: Mark Wing/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Former president Jacob Zuma's bodyguard and head of the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU) Major-General Muzingaye Mxolisi Dladla has allegedly been demoted.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, allegedly shunned PPU members who used to protect Zuma.

Insiders told Sowetan that Dladla, commonly referred to by his clan name, Mgabadeli, would return to KwaZulu-Natal following his demotion.

When approached for comment yesterday Dladla claimed he was unaware of the demotion but stated that he would be meeting with national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to discuss his future.

"I will be meeting the national commissioner on the matter that you're raising now," Dladla said.

Ramaphosa and Mabuza allegedly insisted on keeping the same protection teams they had before they took over as the country's number one and number two respectively in February.

Police insiders said some of those who were sidelined by this move included officers who had protected Zuma from his days as KwaZulu-Natal MEC for econo-mic affairs and tourism in the 1990s, with some based in Durban and Cape Town.

Ramaphosa's spokeswoman, Khusela Diko, said: "We don't wish to comment on this issue of the protection of the president as it falls within the ambit of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"Any grievance that members of the PPU may have has to be raised with the SAPS."

SAPS spokeswoman Lieutenant- Colonel Brenda Muridili said the deployment of the PPU was "an internal matter" that was not "normally discussed in the media".

Muridili said it was "incorrect" that Ramaphosa and Mabuza had refused protection from the former president's bodyguards.

"Decisions on deployments are made by the commanders of the PPU and not by the principals, who are afforded protection in terms of prescripts," Muridili said yesterday.

Sources told Sowetan that members of Zuma's former protection unit, led by Dladla, had their salaries cut by more than half as they were now not getting overtime.

"To be honest, these officers cannot complain about being sidelined because they themselves were beneficiaries of the sidelining of officers who were protecting former president Thabo Mbeki, " an insider said.

"Some of them arrived with Zuma in the late 90s in a kombi from KwaZulu-Natal when he took over as deputy president. Some of the previous presidential protection members were forced out of the SAPS."

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union's spokesman, Richard Mamabolo, said the shunning of presidential protection teams by new presidents had become a norm.

"Unfortunately, this decision affects their salaries because protecting the president guarantees overtime," he said.

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