Municipality spends R2m a month on security

Image: Leon Swart/123rf.com

A Limpopo municipality is spending nearly R2m a month on private security to protect its employees, councillors and senior managers from the public it is meant to serve.

The Greater Tzaneen municipality last week hired Ulawazi Security Group to strengthen security of councillors and senior managers to the value of over R700,000 a month.

The municipality already spends R1m a month, paying MBS Security to render services to protect its employees until 2021.

The appointment of Ulwazi was made last week after a group of contractors stormed into a special council meeting and attacked municipal manager Thapelo Matlala and other councillors.

A group of sub-contractors invaded a council meeting after months of nonpayment for their services.

According to South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) chairperson Selebala Malatji, the municipality and the main contractor are in dispute over the tarring of Mulati village road.

"The main contractor can't pay the sub-contractor because his invoices haven't been paid due to the ongoing court dispute," Malatji said.

He said the municipality discovered alleged tender irregularities after the contractor had begun with his work on the site.

But Malatji said the appointment of a private security company to guard councillors and senior managers was made without any risk assessment by the police to detect any threat.

"We learnt with shock on the sheer abuse of public funds. The municipal manager has appointed Ulwazi Security Group to provide his own high-level security services for the amount of R716,858.88 a month.

"The municipality has contracted MBS Security to protect employees and municipal properties which includes the municipal manager as an employee for a five-year period," he said.

Municipal spokesperson Neville Ndlala confirmed that the appointment of Ulwazi was done as a matter of urgency since the attack on the municipal manager.

"We conducted our own risk assessment and we detected that the safety of employees was under threat. We have since referred the attack incidents to the police for investigation," he said.

Ndlala said the matter of the contractor was before court and he could not comment further.

He said the municipality had to apply regulation 32 to bypass tendering process
because the situation was urgent and important.

Malatji said MBS Security company was being paid R1m a month for the same services.

Matlala told Sowetan that he was attacked two weeks ago when a group of men claimed to be contractors stormed a meeting and demanded to be paid.

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