A number of bodyguards and drivers charged with transporting South Africa’s ministers, say that they are constantly forced to speed because the ministers are invariably late.
This is according to a report in the Sunday Times, which interviewed several VIP protection unit members who said that ‘they would often drive at speeds between 200km/h and 220km/h while using blue lights if a minister was running late’.
“The minister just picks up a phone and calls your commanders and complains about you and the commanders will withdraw you ,” said a bodyguard.
According to the Sunday Times, the bodyguards contracts stipulate that they should work 40 hours a week and the unit pays for a maximum of 100 hours’ overtime a month.
“We go well over those 100 hours a few months. Our speed is 120km but speeding depends on the VIP’s programme. They are mostly late, hence our members are always speeding,” a bodyguard told the paper.
It reported that each minister is allocated two protectors, one as a driver and one as a bodyguard.
South African Policing Union president Mpho Kwinika said members had come forward with complaints against ministers for unfair treatment.
“We have some members who drive ministers [to] meetings that go on until the early hours of the morning and still have to work early the next day, so fatigue creeps in, that is where accidents happen.
“You find some of these ministers there on Pretoria streets and our members outside at night saying their principal is partying somewhere inside. It would be better if they were rotating but that is not happening,” said Kwinika.
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