R1.1m spent on house security for Gauteng premier and MECS
A total amount of R1.1m has been spent on security upgrades at the private residences of the Gauteng Premier and his MECs over the past three years‚ Jack Bloom‚ the DA’s Member of Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office‚ said in a statement.
Bloom said that this was disclosed by Premier David Makhura in a written reply to Bloom’s questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Makhura‚ the ministerial handbook provides guidelines for the security costs for private houses after a security assessment has been done.
The cost for security upgrades was fixed by Cabinet at R100‚000 in June 2003‚ with provision to account for inflation‚ which now amounts to about R200‚000.
Makhura said that he had ordered that any MEC whose private residence security upgrades had exceeded R200‚000 should pay the difference.
According to his written response to Bloom‚ security for his own residence has cost R71‚229‚ and nothing had been spent on upgrades at the houses of four MECs in this term of office because it was already done in a previous term.
All these measures will ensure that there is no abuse or unnecessary spending on security.Premier David Makhura
The big spenders were former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu (R252‚558)‚ former Sports‚ Arts‚ Culture and Recreation MEC Molebatsi Bopape (R230‚190)‚ Education MEC Panyasa Lesufi (R200‚000) and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane (R149‚536).
Most of the costs were incurred on the upgrade of perimeter fences‚ security gates and cameras.
But MEC Lebogang Maile has a security guard assigned to his private residence "as part of the general security contract for guarding the department's buildings."
Makhura explains the extra cost for security at Mahlangu's house as arising from a threat and risk assessment done by the police before 2014. Her security was improved‚ including guarding services‚ and this cost R251‚558 for the period May 2014 to February 2017‚ which amounted to R8‚000 a month.
Makhura says that "any decision about placing static security at any MEC's private residence will now be subject to approval by the Premier‚ on the basis of the recommendation of SAPS. All these measures will ensure that there is no abuse or unnecessary spending on security."
Bloom said that he welcomed Makhura's commitment to stamp out abuse in this area‚ which indicated that there had been unjustified security spending in the past.
According to Makhura‚ "there were loopholes with regard to expenditure cap on security because departments were instructed to pay whatever was in accordance with the recommended security upgrades‚ regardless of the cost."
“We all face the risk of crime‚ and the state should only pay for extra protection for politicians if it is related to their work and justified by an objective police assessment.”