R300 000 a month to guard Malema

Op­po­si­tion doesn’t buy claim of threats to his life

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - XOLANI MBANJWA

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.

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