‘They are saying nonsense’, Herman Mashaba rubbishes City of Joburg claims that he splashed out on VIP protection

Former mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba at an event honouring firefighters. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha / Independent Newspapers

Former mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba at an event honouring firefighters. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 11, 2024


Former mayor of Joburg Herman Mashaba has rubbished allegations that under his watch Joburg Metro Police Department protection was extended to several executives, costing taxpayers millions of rand every month.

Speaking to IOL, Mashaba, who now leads opposition party ActionSA, refuted assertions by City of Joburg spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase that JMPD VIP protection officers were assigned to executives during the Democratic Alliance and Mashaba’s term of office.

“When I became the mayor of Joburg, I had my own driver, then all of a sudden the city manager explained to me that from that time I belonged to the city. There were two vehicles that brought me home. Most of the time I was using one vehicle. I used cars that were used by (former Joburg mayor) Parks Tau,” said Mashaba.

“A few months down the line, they brought a report to me, wanting to buy me new vehicles. I completely rejected it. The BMW that Parks Tau had used was still in good condition and I used that vehicle until I left office.”

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

Mashaba said day-to-day, he travelled with the single BMW X5 formerly used by Tau, and would have a second escort vehicle only when visiting volatile communities.

He told IOL that the security detail assigned to him had five officers.

“The car that I am using right now, a personal car, it’s almost 10 years old. It is still new, as far as I am concerned. I am not the kind of guy that just uses public money randomly. Most of the times, (as mayor) I was only using one car,” said Mashaba.

“I do not understand now, all of a sudden what this guy (Ndamase) wants. I only had two cars, and a team of five guys (officers). I think they (City of Joburg) musn’t really talk nonsense.”

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela / IOL

Mashaba insisted that threat assessment analysis was done by Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) in the City of Joburg during his tenure and he insisted that it is untrue that he dished out VIP protection to his executives.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with the assessments. How do I assess personal risk? I wouldn’t know where to start because as far as I am concerned, I did not need the VIP protection. On the day I was elected as mayor, I think it is August 22, I was refusing to be escorted home by these strange people that I did not know (the JMPD officers). I never changed the security guys. I took the same team that was protecting Parks Tau,” said Mashaba.

Former Joburg mayor, Parks Tau. File Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

The issue of VIP protection has hogged the limelight after it was reported that the current executive mayor of Joburg will have a convoy of about 10 JMPD vehicles under a new policy.

The City of Joburg on Thursday then dispelled the reports, arguing that the new policy seeks to correct an irregular VIP protection policy which was introduced during the reign of the DA, with Mashaba as the mayor of Joburg.

Ndamase said individuals who are now criticising the VIP protection policy in Joburg had “enjoyed” the service when they were in government.

JMPD officers. File Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / Independent Newspapers

“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.

“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.”

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

Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

On the other hand, Mashaba lambasted the City of Joburg’s VIP protection policy as “evil and criminal”.

“It is evil and criminal in a city with over R200 million infrastructure backlog to be providing 10 cars to a mayor that is one of the most inefficient in the world. It is totally unacceptable. It is an abuse of public funds and I really request the residents of Johannesburg and Gauteng to reject this with the contempt it deserves,” said Mashaba.

“I served as mayor in a very hostile environment. I used vehicles which were previously used by Parks Tau from day one until I left. For them to start talking about me, it is going to expose them.”

IOL News