The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been informed by one of the victims of a serious blue light bullying incident on Saturday -- in which a South African man was forced to stop on a busy highway and one of his German businessmen passengers was manhandled by gun-wielding VIP Unit bodyguards -- that he has now received threatening calls from an official in the Office of the Presidency. According to the source, the caller did not identify himself properly, but the DA has this morning verified that the phone number used was that of presidential spin doctor Zizi Kodwa.
The source says that he received a missed call from a cell number last night and when he returned the call, the person introduced himself as ‘the captain' from the President's Office. What then allegedly transpired is deeply concerning:
To begin with, the individual from the President's Office apparently accused the blue light bullying victim of lying in a story that appeared in the weekend press - claiming that the incident must have been a hoax, since President Zuma's bodyguards had not been in Cape Town on Saturday. (The victim then pointed out in response that he had never claimed that it was President Zuma's convoy - only that it was a VIP protection unit.)
The caller then apparently claimed criminal charges would be laid against him for "bringing the office of the President into disrepute" and that he - the blue light victim - should expect a call from the police shortly.
The caller apparently even stated that the President has personally intervened in the matter, and had "asked him to bring charges against [the blue light victim]".
Subsequent to the incident, the victim has noticed a "permanent delay on my cell [phone] with strange noises". He is concerned that his communication is being tapped and feels that his life is in danger.
The DA has established that the cell number used is that of Zizi Kodwa, the President's Special Advisor on Communications. This is a quite despicable incident; Mr. Kodwa must explain why this citizen has been threatened in this manner. The accusation that this call may have been at the president's behest is particularly serious, and the Presidency needs to come clean on this matter right away.
It appears that we have been presented with a clear and systematic attempt to bully and intimidate this victim. No wonder the VIP protection unit are known as such bullies - it appears their own political bosses routinely act in exactly the same manner.
This entire incident raises serious questions about this administration's commitment to preserving law and order. On Saturday, this South African was taking German investors to the airport via the N2. In front of them was a blue light brigade, consisting of four Audi 4x4s and a van. According to the victim, although the blue lights were not engaged, the brigade was driving recklessly and the German took footage of it with his cellphone. The four Audis sped off and the van forced their vehicle to a stop on the N2 highway, almost causing an accident. ("That vehicle stopped in front of me, forcing me to stop in the middle of the road. Cars were swerving past to avoid hitting us.")
Four armed men approached the vehicle, and said that ‘no pictures were allowed', and that the cell phone would need to be confiscated. The German man then deleted the footage. The men refused to identify themselves; the vehicles did, however, have police license plates. Subsequently, the victim laid charges at the Mowbray police station.
The Presidency must now:-
Explain why this threatening call was made;
Explain what action is being taken against the individual who made the call;
Respond to the accusation that the president has asked that criminal charges be laid against this individual;
Take immediate action against the blue light bullies responsible for Saturday's incident.
The bullying and threatening tactics of the blue light brigades must now stop. Too many South Africans have been pushed off roads, shot at, intimidated and even had their homes ransacked because of these power hungry intimidators. The DA in the Western Cape has embarked on a process that will result in legislation that will prevent any politician - from any sphere of government - from using blue light convoys and sirens in this province, unless there is a genuine emergency. The Zuma government desperately needs to follow that example.