The Citizen (KZN)

DA asks why MMCs need so much protection

- Itumeleng Mafisa

While Joburg residents battle crime every day, the leadership of the city enjoys personal security costing the metropolit­an municipali­ty millions of rands per year.

The Citizen has seen documents which show the cost of VIP protection for Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda (R6.5 million a year) and his mayoral committee.

According to the figures, protection for the speaker included eight bodyguards at a cost of R5.2 million, while the mayor’s 10 bodyguards cost about R6.5 million.

The cost of protection for MMCs varied because some had only two bodyguards ( at R1 million a year).

The report showed city officials, such as manager Floyd Brink, chief operations officer Tshepo Makola and group chief financial officer Tebogo Moraka, each have two bodyguards, at more than R1 million apiece.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) argued there was no evidence that a risk assessment had been done to ensure MMCs received the required protection.

In an interview with SABC, former Joburg mayor Thapelo Amad blamed the DA for the VIP policy, claiming it was initiated during the tenure of Herman Mashaba, then a member of the DA.

“They are taken from the pool of JMPD [Johannesbu­rg Metro Police Department officials], which does not even have financial implicatio­ns and it does not have policy implicatio­ns,” he said.

Public safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku told the SABC the policy was introduced because DA leaders were afraid to go into townships.

However, DA caucus leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjo­ku said the party had warned the current administra­tion they were in violation of the upper limits of the tools of trade for public office bearers.

“VIP protection goes back as far as Parks Tau, Amos Masondo... It did not start when the DA came into the city.”

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