The long-awaited report on the controversial purchase of Casspirs similar to the model shown here, was tabled before the city’s executive committee meeting yesterday. The report blamed former metro police head Eugene Nzama for the expenditure.
Durban - The city is living in fear of its own residents.

This was the charge by the DA on Wednesday after it emerged that the city was going ahead with the purchase of armoured vehicles to police service delivery protests - at a cost of R19.9million.

“There is no other reason other than they fear their own residents who are protesting against the lack of service delivery,” DA executive committee member, Heinz de Boer said.

At an executive committee meeting this week, officials highlighted the increase in violent protests and the safety of police as reasons to buy specialised armoured vehicles or Casspirs.

In June, it emerged that the city had procured four Casspirs at R19.9million, from arms company Denel SOC.

Read: Special Report: No stopping eThekwini's R23m Casspirs purchase

At the time, City Manager Sipho Nzuza pulled the brakes on the purchase, saying the procurement process needed to be investigated. After months of back-and-forth debating between the opposition parties, Exco accepted that the procurement process had been correctly followed.

Nzuza said the need for the vehicles arose during the xenophobic riots that rocked the city in 2015. “These vehicles are specifically for riots,” he said.

According to the report presented to Exco members at a meeting on Thursday, Section 110 of the Municipal Finance Management Act was the appropriate procurement method used since a state-owned company was selected as the supplier.

Nzuza said the process of the procurement was satisfactory.

“Other issues regarding the purchase of the Casspirs would still be considered. We needed to make sure that everything was properly approved. For me, the issue of calling the vehicles Casspirs is something that needs to be looked at. The vehicle is a modified ‘Casspir’ for the specific purpose of deployment at riots.

“It is not a military Casspir but merely an armoured vehicle used to protect police who are deployed to these areas,” he said.

The report stated that Metro Police had requested vehicles for public order policing, including six Nyalas.

However, due to the unavailability of Nyalas, the city’s Bid Adjudication Committee approved four Casspirs.

Zwakele Mncwango, DA KZN provincial leader, said the DA did not support the procurement process.

“The municipality did not ask for adiscount from private companies.

“There are about five other companies providing the same service; it should have been put out to tender.”

Daily News