By way of a savingram the Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Peter Magosi has relocated security resources deployed at the Office of the Former President Ian Khama.
The basis of the relocation of these security related resources was on account of a review of the security provision accorded to the former president in terms of resources being the security details, transport and other support equipment.
Thus there was withdrawn the vehicles being a BMW 340i, two Toyota Land Cruiser and three Toyota Fortuner that would be replaced as opposed to the other two. In addition, certain vehicles registration numbers that were accorded to the former president in respect of other vehicles that were availed to him for use were changed.
Certain weapons that were held by Khama were either withdrawn or reduced in number as the case may be.
The savingram further redeployed two officers to the DIS headquarters and all these decisions and/or reallocation of the resources was with effect from March 16, 2020.
The savingram by the DIS made its way into the public domain and was a subject of media reports and scrutiny necessitating a press release by the DIS the following day. The press release alleged that the coverage suggested or claimed malicious withdrawal of certain government vehicles and protection staff to the Office of the Former President.
The former president is entitled to certain retirement benefits in terms of the Presidents [Pensions and Retirements Benefits] Act that include transport, pension, housing, staff and office equipment.
The withdrawal or the reallocation of security related resources deployed at the Office of the Former President by a way of a Savingram may well offend the provision of the Presidents [Pensions and Retirement Benefits] Act in so far as transport is concerned and to the extent that Section 6 of the Presidents [Pension and Retirement Benefit] Act entitles the Former President to one pick up van. In this regard the withdrawal of a Toyota Land Cruiser without a replacement and by way of a Savingram would be in contravention of Section 6 of the Act.
The withdrawal is also problematic in so far as it sought to be explained through the press release. The press release as is apparent does not say whether the assessments done were done in consultation with the former president in respect of there being no further need for deployment of these resources for his benefits. The public is left to speculate as to what former president Festus Mogae’s benefits were in this particular instance so as to make an informed decision as to the alleged inexplicable disparity in the deployment of resources between Mogae and Khama.
Additionally, the registration numbers which have been withdrawn had been at the use and disposal of Khama since 2008 and there is no explanation as to the delay in making this changes and why they are made materially necessary for now. One would also have thought that security to an individual is done following a risk assessment as regards that individual and not in comparison to what resources have been availed to another who may or is of similar rank. Thus Former Presidents’ security risks must be assessed and evaluated independent of each.
*Mogakolodi Motshwaraganyi is a pen name for our legal specialist writer. He is an attorney in private practice