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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

Taxpayers taken for a ride: Saps guzzle over R42m on fuel for VIP protection cars

While South Africans struggle to fill up their tanks SA police have spent millions driving around politicians and officials.

The South African Police Service (Saps) has spent more than R42.67 million on petrol and diesel over the past six years purely for its VIP Protection fleet.

In parliamentary responses seen by The Citizen the Minister of Police Bheki Cele indicated that over a five year period the VIP protection unit had spent more than R34m in fuel.

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Between March, 2023 and March, 2024 the fleet had spent more than R8m on fuel.

Among all the nine provinces, Gauteng was the biggest spender on petrol and diesel.

DA accuses SA government of wasteful expenditure

According to DA shadow Minister of Police, Andrew Whitfield, government was spending too much on petrol for VIP protection.

“While South Africans are suffering from crushing cost of living, including higher fuel prices, ANC VIP cadres take the taxpayers for a ride without having to put their hands in their pockets,” he said.

Whitfield said just recently, the ANC increased the Saps VIP Protection allocation in the mid-term budget by more than R52 million.

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“In fact, the budget allocation for these services has increased by over 25% over the last five years. Other Saps spending programmes were not so lucky, with Crime Intelligence Operations increasing only by 11.5%, and the entire Crime Prevention programme by a dismal 12.4%,” he said.

Whitfield said the wasteful spending on VIP protection by the government could be seen in metros such as Johannesburg, where there has been an increase in security for councillors and some officials.

“It is not only the national ANC government that has been dipping its hands into the taxpayer’s purse, in the City of Johannesburg, which is in the grip of a major water crisis, the ANC/EFF/PA-led doomsday coalition has forced through a R3 million monthly spending bump in their last budget to provide even more bodyguards and flashy cars to the mayor, the speaker, and their cadres,” he said.

Whitfield said the DA would ensure that taxpayers’ money is not wasted on petrol for politicians and government officials should the party come into power.  

“A DA-led government will slash these costs and reallocate much-needed funds to government projects that South Africans need most,” he said.

He said the disproportionate funding to Saps VIP protection proves that the ruling party only cares about protecting their own politically connected cadres, rather than the people of South Africa, who are exposed to violent crime every day.

“It is high time that we rid ourselves of this manipulating government…,” Whitfield said.