Anger over City’s R20-million Casspir purchase

uMhlanga ward councillor, Heinz de Boer has slammed the purchase of four casspirs by the City.
uMhlanga ward councillor, Heinz de Boer has slammed the purchase of four casspirs by the City.

UMHLANGA ward councillor, Heinz de Boer has expressed his shock by the City’s move to spend R20 million for the purchase of four military grade armoured vehicles, instead of hiring more staff in its Metro Police Department. According to De Boer, the purchase comes amid a deepening crisis in the Metro Police; staff shortages, a lack of patrol vehicles and serious political divisions.

The vehicles were bought from national arms and military equipment manufacturer Denel, the four vehicles have been described as Casspir armoured vehicles.

“We are extremely concerned about the supposed reasons for a fleet of armoured vehicles better suited for war time operations and synonymous with the suppression of pro-democracy supporters during the former regime. These vehicles are virtually useless as crowd suppression tools and are specifically designed as troop-carrying military vehicles from which automatic armour can be fired. This smacks of wasteful expenditure,” he said.

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The Diakonia Council of Churches has also expressed its outrage over the plan.

“This marks an alarming and unacceptable escalation of the local state’s increasingly repressive and intolerant response. The protest actions themselves highlight the deep crises and challenges that we need to be facing together as a community with compassion and inclusion.

“What is needed is respect for the concerns, freedoms and dignity of the people. What is needed is the effective and immediate deployment of skills focused on listening, on peaceful negotiations and inclusive dialogue. What is needed is to seriously address the root causes of inequality, exclusion, patronage, elite indifference and arrogance that lie behind people’s protest actions,” said Reverend Ian Booth from the council.

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