The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) reportedly spent more than R10-million on bodyguards for top personnel, with questions raised on how the contract was awarded, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper reported that R2.9-million was spent on close protection services for Sassa chief executive Virginia Petersen and Renay Ogle, the agency's fraud management and compliance general manager.
A further R1.1-million "for close protection services" for social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant and her family was also spent.
The contracts for protection were given to a company Vuco Security Solutions, based in Kwa-Mashu in Durban.
The Sunday Times reported that most of the contracts appeared to have bypassed normal procurement rules.
Tender would not be issued
Oliphant told the newspaper that if a bodyguard was needed urgently, the situation was treated as an emergency and a tender would not be issued.
Oliphant said Petersen – who had a death threat made against her whereby a subsequent arrest was made – needed protection because she was unravelling corruption at the agency.
Further expenses Vuco charged for 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.
Vuco boss Wayne Ndlovu told the newspaper to "speak to Sassa" when asked for comment. – Sapa