Blue light terror: Nothing to do with me, says MEC Radebe

2008-11-16 00:00

Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe, whose bodyguard shot the tyre of a car, resulting in an accident that injured eight people on Saturday, has distanced himself from the incident.

When approached for a comment by The Witness at the Camperdown police station, where his bodyguard was charged and detained, Radebe said he did not know what had happened as he was not present.

He said he had gone to the police station to get a briefing about what happened. “I don’t know anything about the incident. I was at home. They were coming to pick me up as I was to accompany Premier Sibusiso Ndebele on the disaster assessment visit to the Molweni area. I am not involved. The police will handle the matter.”

An altercation ensued between The Witness team and the MEC’s bodyguards and members of the SAPS. Two Witness journalists were prevented from posing further questions to Radebe and threatened with arrest.

Witness photographer Shan Pillay was forced to delete photographs he had taken of the MEC, his bodyguards and other police in the station’s parking lot. The police said the journalists had no right to be at the police station.

Radebe has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately.

Last week it emerged that Radebe has private security guards in addition to his VIP protection unit bodyguards.

The IFP raised the matter during a sitting of the provincial legislature’s finance committee, saying it was a waste of money.

When quizzed on the matter by Lionel Mtshali, the IFP leader in the legislature, Radebe refused to answer any questions.

The IFP alleges that the bodyguard involved in Saturday’s incident is from the private security company, but provided no proof. The police said he is with the VIP unit.

Last year Radebe found himself in hot water over the use of a state-funded helicopter, which costs R5 016 an hour, to go to functions.

Dubbed the “king of sod turning” by political opponents, Radebe also came under a barrage of criticism from opposition parties in 2007 when it emerged that he had spent about R6 million on sod-turning ceremonies in about a year.

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