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Bulletproof X5s for security chiefs

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MBABANE – The BMWs government has purchased for the three national security chiefs are 2013 X5 models estimated at US$164 000 (approximately E1.3 million) each.

They were bought straight from Germany and are expected to be delivered sometime next month.

According to South Africa’s e.TV’s eNCA Africa Edition news on Friday, the custom made vehicles were top-notch and came with extras such as bulletproof windows. In total, taxpayers will fork out about E3.9 million for the buy.

Elegant

Minister for Public Works and Transport Ntuthuko Dlamini, on state radio last Friday, said government found it befitting to upgrade the commissioners from 2002 Toyota Camry sedans to something more elegant.

Part of the sale agreement with government is that the manufacturer will specially train those who will be entrusted with driving the vehicles because of their high-tech nature.

However, the minister revealed that the BMWs came with tough warranty conditions.

For about five years no other driver except the ones trained will drive the cars. If unauthorised personnel got behind the steering wheel the warranty would be immediately forfeited and that would spell the end of free maintenance services.

Serviced

The three security chiefs in question are Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) Commander Lieutenant Sobantu Dlamini, Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) Commissioner Isaac Magagula and His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) Commissioner Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase.

Warranty

"As part of the warranty the three vehicles will be serviced free of charge, and that’s what we want as a ministry," explained the minister.

The top of the range vehicles, according to the minister in an interview last week, would be delivered to Swaziland.

Up until the leading South African news channel named the brand of the vehicles, the minister had been cagey.

He did not reveal the price of the vehicles when asked last week.

He, however, revealed that the drivers of the commissioners’ vehicles would be trained on handling the top of the range vehicles.

According to the BMW website driver training is offered on a number of aspects of driving, which have to do with defensive driving, safety package, advance high performance, collision avoidance and skid control.

Replacing

Since 2002 the three security chiefs had been driving Toyota Camry sedans and had become old. Government, through the Central Transport Administration (CTA) Trading Account with a balance of E400 million intends replacing the government fleet with 940 vehicles.

The minister said government would stick to one or two vehicle brands that were less costly to maintain and its suppliers exhibited attractive after-sales services such as warranties.

Efforts to get the exact details about the vehicles, that is, the model, year and their worth were unsuccessful as the minister did not respond to calls and a text message.

Government Press Secretary Percy Simelane could not be reached for comment yesterday; his mobile phone was switched off the MTN network.

... we deserve the x5s- commissioners

 

MBABANE - HMCS and RSP Commissioners believe they deserve the BMW X5s cars because of their status.

His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) Commissioner Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase and his Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) counterpart Isaac Magagula believe that the status of their offices called for need of a certain type of car.

However, the two, in separate interviews yesterday, were quick to point out that their main area of interest was the purchase of working vehicles.

Ntshangase said the office of being a security force boss required a special car owing to the nature of the position.

Fancy

"In the SADC region, Swaziland is lagging; our colleagues are driving fancy cars like Mercedes Benz," the HMCS Commissioner said.

SADC is the Southern African Development Community.

"We did not see that the car is expensive. Government exercised its discretion to buy those cars. As a department, we made a request to government for vehicles for all departments. We would be happy if they could be delivered," Ntshangase said.

The HMCS Commissioner said he was using an old Camry Sedan that had been used by several of his predecessors.

On the other hand, Magagula said they requested government for supply of a fleet of vehicles because of crisis in the department.

Delivery

The RSP Commissioner said some of the cars were old and could not reach remote places.

"Our interest is service delivery for the people I was tasked to serve. Service delivery cannot be attained without vehicles," he said.

The Commissioner said he was restless about the vehicle crisis in the department because he wanted the nation to be ‘served’ well by the police no matter the distance or area.

Magagula said he did not mind if government saw it fit to buy them the BMW X5s.

He said certain positions needed certain cars for their status.

"It’s difficult to answer if we deserve the cars or not. The government department which buys the cars can better answer that," he said.

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