R300 000 a month to guard Malema
Opposition doesn’t buy claim of threats to his life
JULIUS Malema’s life is in danger – and it is costing us up to R300 000 a month to keep him safe.
Opposition parties have blasted “the wastage” on “this little man”, calling the ANC Youth League president a coward as reports emerge of his using a blue light on his private car to avoid roadblocks.
Zweli Mnisi, Police Ministry spokesman, said Malema had received death threats.
“(Malema) wrote a letter to the police advising of his request to receive such a protection, as he believed his life was in danger.
“Crime Intelligence, upon receiving this request, conducted an investigation which then revealed that indeed, there were threats to his life.”
He said Malema was given the choice of using the police’s VIP Protection Services (the unit which guards ministers and other dignitaries), or private bodyguards. Police would foot the bill for both options.
Mnisi was unable to reveal the cost of Malema’s protection, but private security experts said guard- ing high-profile figures could cost between R4 000 to R12 000 a day.
This includes hotels, food, night shifts, out-of-city allowances but excludes salaries.
Malema lives in a luxurious Sandown Estate home in Joburg’s northern suburbs and drives a C63 Mercedes-Benz AMG.
The Saturday Star, Weekend Argus’s sister newspaper, calculated two months ago that he would have to earn more than R50 000 a month to cover these expenses.
This week, Beeld reported how the ANCYL leader’s expensive bodyguards, who drive him around in a Range Rover, were caught speeding at more than 100km/h in a 60km/h zone in his hometown, Seshego in Limpopo.
Now, the transport department is investigating Malema for allegedly threatening nine traffic police officers for stopping him.
Mnisi could not say how long Malema would have the protection but said there was a legal precedent for the decision.
“By law any person who occupies a senior position, be it in government, business or political office, and is a South African, can apply for protection if they believe their lives are in danger.
“The SAPS, through the Crime Intelligence, will then review each case based on its merits. They will then conduct an investigation to deter mine the depth of such threats. Based on their findings from the report, they then submit a written recommendation to the national police commissioner. The commissioner will then consult with the minister, who has the prerogative to make the final approval,” said Mnisi.
In contrast, Mthethwa withdrew Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota’s bodyguards in February because Lekota, who had left the ANC to form the opposition, “was not in any danger”.
Lekota challenged the decision, saying threats to his life had continued long after he had resigned as defence minister.
Yesterday, opposition parties labelled the massive expenditure for bodyguards as a “wastage”.
ID leader Patricia De Lille slammed the “waste of resources” on Malema, saying the youth leader was a coward.
The DA’s shadow police minister Dianne Kohler-Barnard expressed her outrage at the revelations. “Who on earth does he think he is? It’s an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.”
In a reply to a parliamentary question in March, Mthethwa said the cost of providing bodyguards was R1 billion to taxpayers in the past five years. The government spent R223m in 2007 and R279m last year on VIP protection, while the total bill was R676m, including the acquisition and service of VIP protection vehicles.
PROTECTED: ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is being guarded at taxpayers’ expense, to the outrage of opposition parties.