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While people suffered through looting, chaos and calamity, senior officials spent hundreds of thousands of Rands on Hotel bills.
During his testimony, KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi testified that former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her crew stayed in a luxury hotel during the July unrests. However, it has surfaced that Mkhwanazi, ironically, also stayed in a luxury hotel.
In fact, the financially strapped SAPS paid R175 000 for Mkhwanazi to stay in a hotel between April and August 2021.
In a written parliamentary question, DA MP Ockert Terblanche questioned Police Minister Bheki Cele about why specific individuals stayed in a hotel, although an official apartment was reserved for them.
According to Cele, the Provincial Commissioner of the KZN SAPS had to stay in the hotel as the housing was unavailable when he arrived in the province. Cele goes on to say, this is because the official residence required “minimal renovations” and security modifications.
“These minor repairs were not regarded as an emergency and the normal procurement process had to be followed. Some suppliers had challenges in obtaining the material required to execute the task.” Additionally, he says that the difficulty delaying Mkhwanazi from moving into his state-sponsored apartment was an apparent ownership dispute.
As well as the change of ownership of the electricity account.
If you think the story could not get any sketchier, Cele says that the residence was fraudulently sold to a third person and that the victim attempted to shift the ownership of the property into his name.
Cele claims the victim has successfully changed the electricity account details into his name at the municipal offices, despite being unsuccessful in changing the ownership of the property into his name. The alleged fraudster owed the municipality a significant sum of money. Subsequently, the municipality has refused to reverse the account until all outstanding payments have been made.
As a result, the Durban North police station has begun a fraud investigation.
Responding to Terblanche, Cele affirmed that the provincial commissioner used interim accommodation from 1 April to 31 August 2021. The total cost of the temporary lodging was R175,000.00. Regardless of all the blabber about the housing issue, this means that R43 750 was spent per month on one person’s accommodation. How is this not the fraud being investigated? But most importantly, why does the Police Minister defend this heinous action?
Thankfully, the bill ended as Cele now confirms that the Provincial Commissioner has relocated and taken up residence in the official home.
While the SAPS paid for Mkhwanazi’s hotel stay, it is worth mentioning that the department’s budget for the current fiscal year has been slashed.
The overall budget for the South African Police Department for the fiscal year 2021/22 is down 3.2% from the previous year.
R99.561 billion was allocated to the budget for 2020/21. The budget for the current year is R96.355 billion. As a result, the police’s most extensive program, visible policing, is expected to absorb most of the overall budget drop. This being fantastic news for criminals.
The Police Department is divided into five programmes: administration, visible policing, detective services, criminal intelligence, and protection and security services.
Except for administration, the budget for all of these programs has been chopped. Strangely, the funding for visible policing was cut by 7.2%, while the budget for administration was increased by 4.8%.
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