Questions over security for councillors
Fifty Durban councillors, most of whom are ANC members, are being guarded around the clock by security details provided by the municipality, according to an eThekwini Metro report.
The revelation comes following a report written by the security and emergency services committee this week which showed that as of September 2019, 50 of the 127 councillors were given protection.
Assessments were lodged for a further 16. In total, 55 vehicles were allocated to these councillors from the security management unit (SMU).
The report further stated 96 guards from the SMU and 26 from the Metro police were allocated to councillor security detail.
The report, however, did not detail what this cost the city every month.
Democratic Alliance councillor Zandile Mkhize said they would write to the provincial Treasury to ask for a full cost breakdown.
She said while they were sensitive that legitimate security threats do exist, “these threats need to be carefully weighed up against threats created by political infighting and parties themselves”.
She added: “Ordinary residents of the city face dangerous and debilitating conditions on a daily basis and should not be suffering while the Metro police and security pander to the needs of politicians.”
ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the reason for the guards was “[that] these guys are under threat”.
“Before you get security, you get an assessment via the SA Police Service [Saps]. There is nothing we can do if the Saps is concerned [that] a person is in danger.”
He said KwaZulu-Natal was a known hotbed of political violence.
“We are regarded as [the] most dangerous place in terms of political killings.”
He cautioned that security details were not for show.
“I, of course, do not know the individual security issues. But we must make sure finances are not used wrongly. There must be a life under threat.
“It must not be a status issue. However, again, if a Saps assessment says there is danger, we must assume there is.”
Ordinary residents of the city face dangerous and debilitating conditions on a daily basis.
Zandile Mkhize Democratic Alliance councillor