Eight guards outrage

2009-12-03 00:00

TAXPAYERS have forked out more than R200 000 in less than four months to provide security for the embattled ANC chairman in the Bhambhatha region, uMvoti councillor Philani Mavundla, the Democratic Alliance revealed yesterday.

DA member of the KZN Legislature Radley Keys has called on the Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Willies Mchunu, to investigate the matter further after it emerged that Mavundla has eight bodyguards.

This was confirmed by Mch­u­n­­u in his reply to questions submitted by Keys in the legislature recently. The Witness is in possession of the copy of the questions and answers between Keys and Mchunu.

Keys said the eight bodyguards cost around R70 000 a month. The government paid a total of R210 440 between July 22 and November 3 for Mavundla’s bodyguards.

“It is incomprehensible that one councillor be permitted eight bodyguards, particularly when the costs are so exorbitant,” Keys said in a media statement yesterday.

In his reply to Keys’s questions, Mchunu said security is provided only if there is a threat on the life of a councillor. “This threat has to be confirmed by a threat analysis conducted by the crime intelligence structures.”

Recently, Mavundla admitted to torching a truck worth an estimated R2 million, owned by Jan Fourie of Umlaas Road, after the driver allegedly drove over his sugar cane on one of his farms in Greytown.

Mavundla and IFP uMvoti mayor Petros Ngubane were involved in a war of words following the murders of three councillors in the municipality, in June and July this year. In July, Mavundla was granted an urgent interdict to stop Ngubane from making “untrue and defamatory” statements about him.

Apparently Ngubane blamed him for being behind attacks on IFP councillors in the area. Interventions by the province led to the appointment of a task team that brokered a peace accord between the rivals. Mavundla and Ngubane shook hands as a sign of commitment to working together for peace.

Keys argued that the number of bodyguards assigned to Mavundla amounted to exorbitant spending. “Whatever the circumstances in this instance may be, it is extremely difficult to justify so many bodyguards for one person.

“The DA calls on Mchunu to investigate the issue and put an end to this excessive behaviour.”

IFP councillors in uMvoti Municipality claimed that they also applied to the SAPS to have bodyguards, saying their lives are also under threat. The councillors, who wished not to be named, alleged that their requests were rejected, allegedly because of a lack of funds.

Mchunu’s spokesman, Bhekisisa ­Mncube, rubbished the claims, saying that if assessments prove there is a threat against a councillor’s life, security will be granted without hesitation.

Mncube declined to say what led to the deployment of eight bodyguards for one councillor, saying the issue of Mavundla’s bodyguards is “neither here nor there”.

“The issue of close security for public officials and individuals whose lives are under threat is handled by the relevant law enforcement agency after due process. It is therefore inappropriate to discuss one’s security detail through the media.”

Mavundla said yesterday he would comment via e-mail, which was not received at the time of going to print

Keys argued that the number of bodyguards assigned to Mavundla amounted to exorbitant spending. “Whatever the circumstances in this instance may be, it is extremely difficult to justify so many bodyguards for one person.

“The DA calls on Mchunu to investigate the issue and put an end to this excessive behaviour.”

IFP councillors in uMvoti Municipality claimed that they also applied to the SAPS to have bodyguards, saying their lives are also under threat. The councillors, who wished not to be named, alleged that their requests were rejected, allegedly because of a lack of funds.

Mchunu’s spokesman, Bhekisisa ­Mncube, rubbished the claims, saying that if assessments prove there is a threat against a councillor’s life, security will be granted without hesitation.

Mncube declined to say what led to the deployment of eight bodyguards for one councillor, saying the issue of Mavundla’s bodyguards is “neither here nor there”.

“The issue of close security for public officials and individuals whose lives are under threat is handled by the relevant law enforcement agency after due process. It is therefore inappropriate to discuss one’s security detail through the media.”

Mavundla said yesterday he would comment via e-mail, which was not received at the time of going to print

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