Why does Welfare MEC spend extra on security

2008-11-11 00:00

Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe is in hot water again, this time for hiring private security in addition to the SAPS VIP security unit to guard him.

During the Finance portfolio committee meeting yesterday, Radebe refused to answer a question from the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Dr Lionel Mtshali, who wanted to know why he hired private guards.

Radebe was also under scrutiny last year when members of the provincial legislature questioned why he used a state-funded helicopter to pick him up at his Hammarsdale home, which they said was extravagant.

Mtshali yesterday said he found it difficult to understand why the MEC has hired more guards. He said Radebe’s department has already overspent by more than R100 million.

“It is unprecedented for an MEC to engage the services and incur the cost of a private security company given the allocation of a state-funded VIP protection unit. This is an unnecessary duplication of government expenditure,” Mtshali.

He said expenditure on security and extravagant government advertising in newspapers contributed to the provincial government’s multi-billion rand over-expenditure.

“The IFP has also noted that the departments of Social Development and Health have recently had to cancel the supply and distribution of food parcels due to their overspent budgets.

“Can the MEC credibly explain to the people of KwaZulu-Natal that his department could find money for a private security company, but at the same time had to cancel food parcels for those who depend on them?” asked Mtshali.

Radebe refused to answer Mtshali’s question during the meeting, but later accused Mtshali of having had more than 20 bodyguards when he was premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

bmthembu@witness.co.za

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