DA councillor believes ANC delayed giving him guards

2013-10-14 00:00

A DEMOCRATIC Alliance PR councillor is yet to be assigned a bodyguard by the KwaDukuza Municipality, seven months after the crime intelligence unit (CIU) recommended the council do so.

In documents seen by The Witness, the initial recommendation was made by the specialised police unit in April, stating councillor Thokozani Gumede met the minimum requirements to be provided with “security guards”, but by September the council had yet to act on the recommendation.

The municipality confirmed last week that they had decided this month to assign Gumede with the security detail “in terms of council’s close protection policy” and that he must visit the council to formalise the decision.

But Gumede is furious and believes the council, led by the ANC, has purposely delayed approving his security simply because he is a member of an opposition party.

“They would never have taken this long if it was one of their [ANC] councillors. The delay was an obvious attempt to frustrate me. I have yet to be informed officially about the decision taken. I have only heard about it from others. From what I gather they want to assign me one guard, when the SAPS clearly recommended it in the plural,” said Gumede.

In an e-mail sent to Gumede by the council’s municipal manager Nhlanhla Mdakane on September 10, Mdakane said the municipality had “resolved not to provide security” on the count that the municipality “sees no immediate threat”. The SAPS report is “highly contradictory” and that the financial implications of appointing bodyguards cannot be deemed “justifiable to the ratepayers of KwaDukuza”, it added.

But just six days later the CIU sent Mdakane a second memo titled Secret, stating “the subject [Gumede] meets the minimum requirements”.

Gumede opened a case with the KwaDukuza police in March under the charge “conspiracy to commit murder”, the basis of his meeting the minimum requirement.

He said he has received threats to him and his family and since April has paid for his own security detail and moved from his home in Doringkop.

Gumede said he is being “targeted” because he is “talking to the media” and “exposing corrupt activities” within the council related to local housing projects, the overpayment for services and non-delivery of projects.

The council says they have “recently” resolved to appoint him a bodyguard and that Gumede needs to just make it official.

Municipal spokesperson Sifiso Zulu said: “After consultation with relevant parties, [it was agreed] Gumede be assigned bodyguards in terms of council’s close protection policy.”

He said council has no constant figure on what it spends on security, but that he would not be able to reveal who, and how many guards are assigned, to political leaders as it “constitutes a breach of security”.

Now Gumede believes the council should reimburse him for what he has spent on paying for his own security.

“It is costing about R15 000 a month and I have been using my savings to pay for this service.”

DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said the delays in providing Gumede security is an attempt to frustrate the party in the run up to the 2014 national general election.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

Thokozani Gumede, a Democratic Alliance PR councillor, is yet to be assigned a bodyguard by the KwaDukuza Municipality, seven months after the Crime Intelligence Unit recommended the council do so.

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