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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda splurges over R6m per year for personal protection

There were also reports that Gwamanda had a fleet of luxury vehicles as part of his security detail.

While Johannesburg residents battle crime every day, the leadership of the city enjoys personal security costing the metropolitan municipality millions per year.

The Citizen has seen documents which were presented to councillors that indicate the cost implications of VIP protection for Joburg mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda and his mayoral committee.

Joburg officials security costs

According to the figures, the cost of protections for the Joburg council speaker including eight bodyguards is R5 212 251.84, while the mayor with 10 bodyguards is R6 515 314.80.

There were also reports that Gwamanda had a fleet of luxury vehicles as part of his security detail, which includes known brands such as BMW.

The amounts for members of the mayoral committee (MMC) varied since some of them had two bodyguards, while some had more than two.

The MMC of Finance was the next on the list with five bodyguards costing the municipality over R3 million per annum

Most of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and African National Congress (ANC) MMC’s had two bodyguards costing the municipality at least over R1 million per annum.

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Two Patriotic Alliance (PA) MMC’s including Roads and Transport MMC Kenny Kunene had four bodyguards costing the city over R2 million per annum.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in council argued that there was no evidence that a risk assessment was done to ensure that councillors received the required protection.

The report further shows that city officials such as Floyd Brink has two body guards costing the metro over R1 million, the chief operations officer also has two body guards at a cost of over R1 million and group financial chief officer has two body guards also costing the city over R1 million.

Additionally, the head of Department Public Safety also has two body guards at a cost of over R1 million the chief of police also has two body guards at a cost of over R1 million.

Political parties play blame game

Despite these figures former Johannesburg mayor, Thapelo Amad denied that there were cost implications for the security detail in an interview with the SABC.

Amad also blamed the DA for the VIP policy in the city, claiming that it was initiated during the mayoral tenure of Herman Mashaba, who was at the time a member of the DA.

“They are taken from the pool of JMPD which does not even have financial implication and it does not have policy implication,” he said.

The MMC of Public Safety Mgcini Tshwaku also told the SABC that the policy came to life because DA leaders in the City of Johannesburg were afraid to go into the townships.

READ MORE: ‘City of Joburg has let us down’: Promises of homes, essential services come to nothing

However, DA caucus leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku said the party had warned the current administration that they were in violation of the upper limits, the tools of trade for public office bearers.

“VIP protection goes back as far as Parks Tau, Amos Masondo these mayors had VIP protection the difference is it was within the upper limits it did not start when the DA came into the city,” Kayser-Echeozonjoku said.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku said what she was concerned about was the increase in security and going outside of the upper limits as prescribed by the constitution.

She also said she believed it was obscene for the mayor to have so much security details in a city which needs JMPD officers at hand.