Johannesburg – eThekwini Municipality on Tuesday responded to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union’s (Samwu) call for it to in-source its security in a bid to cut expenditure, saying there was already a process in place to do so.
This follows Samwu claims that it was shocked by the revelations that the eThekwini Municipality had spent almost R500 million on security in 2015.
eThekwini’s head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa, said the municipality had a stringent supply-chain management process in place which was applied in the awarding of all contracts, and that included the awarding of security contracts.
“A preliminary security cost analysis recently conducted by the Municipality has revealed that Council could save an excess of R8 million by employing 96 in-house VIP Security Guards,” Mthethwa said.
Last week, a report by eThekwini’s finance committee revealed that the municipality spent a total of R483 million on security management in the past year, with seven of the top 10 security companies bagging a combined R472 million among them.
These figures were said to have raised the ire of some councillors, including two African National Congress (ANC) councillors, who questioned the value the City was getting from the amount of money spent on security.
Samwu had called for the City to immediately cancel these contracts and reinforce its security department.
But Mthethwa said the municipality had already initiated a process of replacing outsourced security contracts with in-sourced staff by implementing the Council’s proposals in order to minimise costs.
“The municipality has been criticised for its high security bill. This has also been a grave concern to the City leadership hence this bold step that the City has taken to reduce costs,” Mthethwa said.
Security companies, Isidingo Security Services and Enforce Security Services, were named in the report as the biggest beneficiaries, coining R213 million between them for protecting municipality assets.
The companies provide security for several municipal departments, including the water and sanitation department, council offices and the electricity department.
Asked about Samwu’s claim that the City was spending over R36 million on private bodyguards for 19 councillors, Mthethwa said they would not divulge information on the number of guards per councillor “for obvious safety reasons”.
She said the decision to provide councillors and officials with security was not taken lightly, but was based on threat analysis reports from the SAPS, Crime Intelligence Unit and in some cases the National Intelligence Unit.
“The amount spent on security is justified as the services currently being provided by these security companies,” Mthethwa said.
“These include providing security to Council property as the City owns assets worth billions of rands that need to be protected; providing VIP protection to councillors who receive threats to their lives, and escorting Council employees such as those from the Electricity Unit, who work under compromising situations.”
“Although the City is getting value for money for providing security this does not prevent the Municipality from looking at ways to further reduce costs.”
African News Agency