City of Joburg says its VIP protection policy is “irregular, excessive” but was introduced by Herman Mashaba and DA

Mayor of Joburg Kabelo Gwamanda believes that his current security detail is excessive and unjustifiable. File picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Media

Mayor of Joburg Kabelo Gwamanda believes that his current security detail is excessive and unjustifiable. File picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Media

Published Apr 11, 2024


The City of Joburg says the current policy on VIP protection, which has sparked public outrage, was “irregularly” introduced during the reign of the Democratic Alliance (DA), with Herman Mashaba as the mayor of Joburg.

Speaking to broadcaster eNCA, City of Joburg spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said the DA members who are now criticising the VIP protection policy, “enjoyed” the service when they were in the municipal corridors of the city.

“Currently the duties of JMPD officers have been made to include the protection of councillors, irregularly since 2016 and 2021 and the current government is now introducing a policy so that it can re-divert the various numbers of officers who are allocated to protect municipal executives back into assisting us to fight the scourge of crime in the city,” said Ndamase.

He stated that prior to 2016, the City of Joburg did not provide protection services to members of the mayoral committee.

Members of the JMPD. File Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media

“It (City of Joburg) only provided protection services to the mayor and the speaker. It is in 2016 with the change of administration and the coming in of mayor Mashaba that the Democratic Alliance felt, and unilaterally without any policy in place, decided to introduce protection for the entire mayoral committee and the executive leadership of the city,” said Ndamase.

“What the city seeks to do with the policy that was presented to council recently, is to ensure that we provide protection services only to those who have a risk-threat analysis that has been done by the SA Police Service and determined to qualify for those particular benefits.”

He said City of Joburg, and Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda believes that the current VIP protection services afforded to executives are excessive and unjustified.

“The city administration currently, has felt it unnecessary and quite excessive to be providing security at the level at which the Democratic Alliance had introduced it in the city,” he said.

The city’s spokesperson said members of the DA who served in council were happy to enjoy the perks previously.

“What the DA should have told you is that the protection that is there currently is the same protection they introduced unilaterally and without any policy and procedure. Quite frankly illegally in the city,” said Ndamase.

He said the current administration led by Gwamanda is trying the reverse the benefits that the DA administration “accorded themselves without policy”.

“In fact, to be quite frank, the DA introduced those particular protection services because at the time, it had an allergy that as a government in Johannesburg, it would be unsafe for majority of their white mayoral committee to attend to community issues in black township areas within the city and therefore they afforded themselves protection services in the JMPD,” said Ndamase.

Former mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

“This particular administration is now saying you cannot do that but you must make sure that whoever is given protection it is done on the basis of a threat-assessment which means if there is no threat against you – as I believe many in the previous administration quite frankly had no threats – there is no need for us to provide you protection.”

Ndamase said Gwamanda does not believe that there is a threat against him which warrants the level of protection he “inherited and found in the city when he took over after mayor (Mpho) Phalatse”.

Former Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

The City of Joburg has vehemently disputed widespread reports that the security detail around Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda has been massively increased.

The media reports also indicate that apart from revamping the security detail around Joburg’s number one citizen, the Johannesburg council has approved a new policy which would see members of the mayoral committee also getting additional security.

IOL previously reported that under the reported new policy, based on media reports, would see Gwamanda having around ten luxury vehicles in his entourage, driven by members of the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD).

It has also been reported that this “adjusted” VIP Risk Management System policy would allow each of the 270 councillors and other committee members access to two VIP security guards without needing an SA Police Service (SAPS) risk assessment. This new system would reportedly cost taxpayers R3 million per month.

However, on Thursday, Ndamase said he cannot speak about the exact detail of the mayor’s security detail.

“The mayor is provided with the same security that was there under mayor (Mpho) Phalatse and mayor (Herman) Mashaba and I would not want to go into the detail of what, or how the mayor is protected. That on its own would be a breach of the mayor’s security and I would not think it is my responsibility or whether it is the correct thing to do on such a public platform,” said Ndamase.

He said the reports of ten vehicles around Gwamanda are “categorically not true”.

“The mayor does not travel in a convoy of five or ten cars. He is just a mayor of Johannesburg and he is a servant of the residents of Johannesburg. Even this action of trying to rectify the (VIP protection) policy, it is to ensure that we are able to divert resources that are currently used, back to the residents of Johannesburg,” said Ndamase.

City of Joburg has disputed reports that Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda travels in a large convoy. File Picture: Andrew Ingram

He also disputed the reported figure of R3 million per month for the protection of the political elites in Joburg.

“The mayor is not protected by private security. All of those people are under protection from officers who are otherwise employed by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department. These are officers who are salaried, who are on the payroll and are employees of the city.

“There is no additional resource that has been spent to protect the mayor, the speaker or anybody else outside of the ordinary duties that are provided for JMPD officers in the city,” he said.

Story will be updated with reactions from Herman Mashaba and the Democratic Alliance in Joburg.