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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

50 shades of blue: New Nongoma mayor revs it up all night with blue light joy ride

The smug mayor headed to his rural village where he celebrated the night away with non-stop hooting and flashing of VIP blue lights.

After toppling Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) veteran Albert Mngcwango from Nongoma Local Municipality’s mayoral seat, Clifford Ndabandaba decided to take his new VIP fleet for a celebratory spin to his rural village in Kwazulu-Natal on Friday, 7 July.

This after Mncwango finally handed over the mayoral fleet after initially disappearing with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and Toyota double-cab Legend 50 in late June when he was ousted through an ANC-EFF no-confidence motion.

Nongoma mayor Ndabandaba’s blue light celebration

The new National Freedom Party (NFP) mayor and his security detail were greeted by ululating family members and neighbours when he arrived with flashing blue lights and plenty of hooting.

The flashy and noisy celebrations apparently continued non-stop until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Nongoma mayor Clifford Ndabandaba’s mayoral fleet parked at his rural home in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Video screengrab/ Scrolla

Online publication Scrolla reported that one of the residents said he could not sleep a wink.

“At first I thought he had bought the vehicles, but I realised later that they were municipal vehicles because they were driven by bodyguards. They kept flashing blue lights and hooting.”

ALSO READ: ‘VIP protection unit raises concerns of threats to motorists’ – AA

Mayor denies abuse of municipal vehicles

Despite a video footage showing the blue lights flashing vehicles parked at Ndabandaba’s rural home, the new mayor said he strictly adhered to protocol subscribed to the use of his municipal-owned fleet. 

“No, no, no. I deny that. I was not celebrating using my state car. I know the protocols and the provisions of using that car. There were no sirens at my home,” he told News24 when approached about the matter.

Flashy trend among KZN politicians?

The crass display of newly-acquired state assets, however, is nothing new when it comes to KwaZulu-Natal politicians it seems.

In 2021, then UMhlathuze mayor Dr Nkosiyakhe Donda of the IFP caused a stir on social media when he paid loud and proud surprise visit to his wife at the clinic where she worked to share the joyous news of his election as mayor.

Not only did he arrive with his municipal BMW convoy, but he even roped in the police to accompany him with flashing blue lights.

‘Fashion accessories’

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP and provincial leader Dean Macpherson said state cars with blue lights had become “fashion accessories” in KwaZulu-Natal for politicians and high-ranking officials. 

“It seems everyone is entitled to one somehow. They are often used to bully motorists because those in power can’t manage their time. Driving around the province you will on a daily basis experience a blue light car trying to bully you out of the way, which is unacceptable.”

High price of VIP personal protection  

Last Monday’s brutal assault of a motorist and his two passengers by Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP Protection Unit on the N1 highway, near Fourways, Johannesburg, has put a spotlight on the excessive cost of blue light brigades.

ALSO READ: ‘Blue light assault’ symptomatic of an arrogant state

The budget for VIP protection surpasses the government budget for restoring land to the dispossessed, as well as the budget set aside for the Hawks.

According to Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), the South African Police Services (Saps) budget for the Hawks’ Priority Crime Investigation unit for the current financial year is R2.247 billion. This in lower than the R3.378 billion set aside for VIP protection.

NOW READ: R37m ‘safe house’? Paul Mashatile lives in Waterfall mansion owned by son-in-law

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