One bodyguard for new mayor

2010-04-02 00:00

WHILE former Msunduzi mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo had eight bodyguards at her disposal, new mayor Mike Tarr is set to have only one.

This is just one of the many ways the municipality is trying to cut down on expenditure, well-placed sources informed The Witness.

Hlatshwayo came under fire many times in past meetings of the executive committee when opposition members questioned whether it was necessary for her to have so much security.

She defended herself at the time, saying she did not decide how many bodyguards she needed and the number was given to her after the conclusion of a risk assessment.

The Witness has learnt that reshuffling at the city hall is far from over and plans are underway to trim the number of staff servicing the mayor, deputy mayor, municipal manager and council speaker.

The Witness understands that all employees reporting to the above-mentioned offices were called into a meeting yesterday morning and told that their sections were overstaffed and chances of them being redeployed to other departments were quite high.

Nothing has been finalised as yet and negotiations with the employees are set to take place next week.

Insiders told The Witness that in the forseeable future, these four main offices will only contain a secretary and PA and no other additional staff.

Asked for comment, Tarr said he was reluctant to comment at this stage, but it was really not his style to have lots of bodyguards.

He said the city administrator is busy compiling a report that contains many measures that would be put in place, but he has not seen it as yet.

“The strategy prepared will have far-reaching implications and I would rather not comment on an ad hoc basis.

“Bear with us for a week and all will be known. I’m not trying to duck and dive,” he said.

Insiders told The Witness that besides cost-cutting, one of the main reasons for redeploying and replacing office staff and security is to give the new leaders a peace of mind by providing them with new staffers who are not linked to the former political heads.

“You have to remember that these guys are viewed as loyalists who had strong ties to their previous bosses so inasmuch as the slate was wiped clean on top, the same needs to happen at the bottom.

“They were worried as soon as they heard that their bosses were asked to resign because they had a feeling that they would be next,” said a source.

 

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