50 Durban councillors guarded on 24-hour basis at taxpayers' expense - eThekwini report

2020-01-31 08:08
SAPS (Nielen de Klerk)

SAPS (Nielen de Klerk)

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Fifty Durban councillors, most of whom are ANC, are being guarded around the clock by security details provided by the municipality, an eThekwini Metro report stated.

The revelation comes following a report written by the Security and Emergency Services Committee this week which showed that as of September 2019, 50 out of 127 councillors were given protection.

Assessments were lodged for a further 16. In total 55 vehicles were allocated to these councillors from the Security Management Unit (SMU).

The report further stated 96 guards from the SMU and 26 from the Metro Police were allocated to councillor security detail.

The report, however, did not detail what this cost the city every month.

DA councillor Zandile Mkhize said they would write to the Provincial Treasury to ask for a full cost breakdown.

She said while they were sensitive that legitimate security threats do exist, "these threats need to be carefully weighed up against threats created by political infighting and parties themselves".

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She added: "Ordinary residents of the city face dangerous and debilitating conditions on a daily basis and should not be suffering whilst the Metro Police and security pander to the needs of politicians."

ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the reason for the guards was "[that] these guys are under threat".

"Before you get security you get an assessment via SAPS. There is nothing we can do if SAPS is concerned [that] a person is in danger."

He said KwaZulu-Natal was a known hotbed of political violence.

"We are regarded as [the] most dangerous place in terms of political killings."

He, however, cautioned that security details were not for pomp or show.

"I, of course, do not know the individual security issues. We cannot answer for everyone's position. But we must make sure finances are not used wrongly. There must be a life under threat.

"It must not be a status issue. However, again, if a SAPS assessment says there is danger, we must assume there is."

Read more on:    durban  |  politics
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