Questions raised after KZN council spends R16m on security
This was despite the fact that there was no official report of the security threat assessment to back the use of the Umvoti Municipality’s budget hiring a private company to provide security for mayor Thamsanqa Ngubane and senior managers.
During a press briefing held in Durban this week, Ngubane, former ANC Youth League provincial chairperson, revealed that the municipality spent R11.3m for his and managers’ private security since November last year.
However, head of communications, Phindile Phungula revealed that more money had been spent on the mayor’s safety despite the fact that the municipality had its own security guards who should be providing the same service.
In a text message sent to Independent Media, Phungula revealed that between 2016 and 2019, R11 858 222 was spent on Ngubane’s security.
“Senior managers’ security fee from November 2018 to date = R4 636 600,” she wrote, after collecting information from the municipality’s finance department.
Further explaining the expenditure, she said the R11.8m was separate from the R11.3m.
Ngubane said the council had to resort to private security after his mother’s house in Greytown was set alight just days before he was inaugurated after the 2016 local government elections.
He said more private bodyguards were also assigned to seven senior managers after the brutal murder of the municipality’s community services director, Thobani Ndaba, who was gunned down inside the council premises a day after he was promoted to the position in November last year.
“If I didn’t have security I would have died a long time ago,” he said.
However, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) department said the municipality should provide private guards for its officials and mayors only after risk assessment had been conducted on those affected.
“Even when they do it themselves they have to involve the police commissioner, who would do a risk analysis, and based on that risk analysis he would approve or disapprove the security,” said spokesperson Lungi Mtshali.
However, she said the security of the municipal official was not the competency of Cogta, it fell under law enforcement authorities.
KwaZulu-Natal Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said the department would conduct its own assessment on various municipalities.