DA wants investigation into Sassa's R10m security spending

The South Africa Social Security Agency reportedly spent more than R10-million on bodyguards for top personnel. (Gallo)

The South Africa Social Security Agency reportedly spent more than R10-million on bodyguards for top personnel. (Gallo)

"The DA will today [Sunday] report the allegations that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) spent an exorbitant R10-million of public money on VIP protection ... to Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela," party parliamentarian Mike Waters said in a statement.

Waters was reacting to a Sunday Times report that raised questions about how contracts were awarded for the multimillions spent on "close protection services" for Sassa chief executive Virginia Petersen and other senior staff members.

The newspaper alleged that regular processes were not followed in the awarding of the contract to a company Vuco Security Solutions.

In response, social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said protection services were necessary as the efforts of Sassa personnel to root out corruption had led them to being intimidated and receiving death threats.

"This aggressive attitude to fraud and corruption by the Minister and the CEO has led to the numerous incidents of death threats, intimidation and threats against them and their families and other staff," said Oliphant in a statement.

She said when threats were received, a process involving the department, agency and an emergency delegation would "procure the urgent service".

The Sunday Times reported that Vuco had charged for a number of services and items which reportedly included R45 000 for erecting a fence, R17 000 for building a toilet as well as charges for buying rifles, pistols and night-vision binoculars.

Oliphant said that Sassa was extending its investigation into services procurements for the past financial year.

"This ranges from procurement of office accommodation, office upgrading to services."

Waters said: "The reasons given for the expenditure are completely unreasonable."

"The public protector must look at the flouted tender processes, examine the contract between Sassa and the security company Vuco, and determine whether the money paid out to this company constitutes wasteful expenditure."

He said the party would be "unrelenting" in its pursuit of "accountability" in this matter. – Sapa


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