Cops’ R500 000 hotel bill hurts taxpayer wallet

2009-11-07 15:42

A POLICE task team dispatched to Rustenburg to combat taxi violence two years ago continued to live in a local hotel and guest houses long after the violence stopped.

The town has not seen any taxi violence in the last year-and-a-half but taxpayers coughed up thousands of rands for luxury accommodation for captain Jan Mampuru and his team.

Mampuru’s Road Lodge hotel bills amount to more than R300?000.

Accommodation for four other task team members who stayed at Oude Landgoed Lodge and Spa amount to more than R200?000.

Taxpayers also paid an undisclosed amount for the accommodation of three other task team members staying at Entrer Coffee Shop guesthouse.

Seven members of the task team as well as Mampuru were moved into the police barracks in Rustenburg after City Press began making inquiries two weeks ago.

North West police commissioner Lesetja Beetha has declined to ­reply to questions on police accommodation regulations with regard to the task team’s stint in Rustenburg.

Mampuru is a member of the Phokeng organised crime unit in the North West and lives in Pretoria. His team are from Klerksdorp, Phokeng and Mafikeng.

North West police spokesperson Superintendent Junior Metsi said the team was there to handle taxi violence and/or “an intelligence threat” but refused to identify the nature of the threat.

The treasurer for the North West Taxi Forum, Jacob Mbatha, assured City Press that there had been no taxi violence in the area since 1997.

“If there was taxi violence it would have been reported in the media,” said Mbatha.

Sources said Mampuru and his team checked out of the hotel and guesthouses last Wednesday when they caught wind of the fact that City Press was making enquiries.

Asked about his stay at the hotel, Mampuru said: “I told the commissioner and director about you. We are all out for you, we will not have mercy for you. Publish whatever you want, I do not care. It seems like you are after me, you will get what you want. If you fight me, you will get what you want.”

A source showed City Press copies of hotel claims submitted by Mampuru between June 2007 and January this year showing that the taxpayer coughed up more than R300?000 for his hotel bills.

A night at the Rustenburg Road Lodge costs R429 and breakfast costs R45.

The staff at Road Lodge were tight-lipped about Mampuru’s stay. General manager Edwin Worthington declined to comment.

His police tenants moved out last week, said Entrer Coffee owner, Kassie Botha. He charges R450 for bed, breakfast and dinner.

The four police officers who stayed in Oude Landgoed Lodge and Spa moved out in March, according to manager Isabel Botha. She said the government had paid her more than R200?000 for their accommodation.

She charges R470 for bed, breakfast and dinner.

Lesiba Kgwele, spokesperson for the North West public safety MEC Howard Yawa, said he could not respond to questions because the police had not provided him with ­information.

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