JOHANNESBURG – It’s emerged that President Jacob Zuma’s personal protection unit has been bolstered.

It now includes members of the special task force and heavily armed soldiers from the South African National Defence Force.

It’s the largest contingent of personal guards for a president since the dawn of democracy.

The defence force spokesperson brigadier Xolani Mabanga says he’s in no position to discuss the security and protection of the president with the media.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Mabina Seabe says it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“This is a president who is highly compromised and therefore he is using the security of the state to shield him from scrutiny from within his own party and South Africa.”

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the president’s popularity is on the decline.

He says African presidents to want to hold onto power often increase their protection detail.

“He seems to point sides with his loss of popularity and the increasing divisions within the ANC.”

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