Ques­tions over se­cu­rity for coun­cil­lors

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Cit­i­zen re­porter

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

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