DA 'extremely concerned' by eThekwini's R19.9m 'war time' vehicles

2017-06-29 20:10

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Durban – The eThekwini municipality’s purchase of four armoured vehicles at a cost of R19.9m raises questions over whom the municipality is going to war with, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.

The DA is shocked by the municipality’s move to spend R19.9m on the purchase of four military grade armoured vehicles, instead of hiring more staff in its Metro Police Department, said DA eThekwini Exco member Heinz de Boer.

"The purchase comes amid a deepening crisis in the metro police staff shortages, a lack of patrol vehicles and serious political divisions. The unprecedented purchase also comes in the wake of scandals involving the lack of firearms, decent uniforms and bungling in the procurement of horse and dog food and bullet-proof vests," De Boer said in a statement.

Bought from national arms and military equipment manufacturer Denel, the four vehicles have been described as Casspir armoured vehicles, said De Boer.

"The DA is extremely concerned about the supposed reasons for a fleet of armoured vehicles better suited for wartime operations and synonymous with the suppression of pro-democracy supporters during the former regime," he said.

He said the vehicles are virtually useless as crowd suppression tools and are specifically designed as troop-carrying military vehicles from which automatic armour can be fired.

"It smacks of wasteful expenditure and raises questions over whom this ANC-led city is going to war with. Perhaps, its own citizens?" he asked.

Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer said the vehicles would be used by the Crowd Management Unit of the metro police for crowd control and during volatile protests.

"These vehicles have been ordered for a good reason to assist Metro Police in carrying out their duties," she said. 

Tozi Mthethwa, municipality spokesperson, said the vehicles will also assist the metro police to carry out their duties. Mthethwa said that the vehicles will ensure the safety of police members in riotous situations when rocks or petrol bombs are thrown. 

"The vehicles will also be of use to assist in land invasions," she said adding that they cost R19.9m.

Read more on:    da  |  durban

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