Metro cops guard VIPs

2014-06-25 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality yesterday gave the green light for the establishment of a VIP security unit within the Metro police to provide protection to its councillors.

City manager Sbu Sithole will now spearhead a task team to investigate the financial implications of the decision.

The Witness reported in April that eThekwini’s R40 million bill for protecting councillors was the largest bodyguard tab in the country’s history.

Documents obtained by the newspaper showed that about 20 ward councillors were each given three private security professionals and a leased car, paid for by the municipality.

It was also reported that the city was paying R129 272 per month to a private security company for each of the councillors though some companies charged half the amount for the same service elsewhere.

This was after the DA reported that the security-related expenditure in March, amounting to R3,2 million, was paid to a private company for the month of January and the amount rose to R3,4 million in March.

DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said the Exco agreed in principle to the party’s calls to incorporate the VIP protection for councillors into the Metro police.

“Today the DA was vindicated in a sitting of the executive committee who ruled that the city would no longer seek outside protection for its councillors and will incorporate the private VIP bodyguards into the Metro police,” Mncwango said.

He said the proposal was tabled after the DA had made a submission to Mayor James Nxumalo.

Council speaker Logie Naidoo confirmed that council was informed of the need to look into establishing an in-house VIP security unit for protection of councillors.

According to Mncwango, the Exco decision means that the city would establish its own VIP security unit and train officers to provide security protection to councillors when it was needed.

“It is a victory on our side and the ratepayers, because council money can now go to service delivery where it is needed,” he said.

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