About R3.6 million is spent each year to guard ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
But this money has never benefited Steve Mashala – who spent 10 months shielding Malema’s life without being paid.
Mashala, now jobless, has accused Malema of reneging on a promise to find him a job in the SAPS or Joburg metro police department.
Mashala, 36, said Malema used used him as his personal bodyguard and driver for 10 months before dumping him “for no apparent reason”.
He was the driver of the get-away car with Malema in it when the league leader’s entourage came under attack, apparently from Inkatha supporters at Mangosuthu Technikon, in 2009.
Mashala was in a Durban hotel with Malema when news came through about a possible attack and police had to supply them with back-up.
Malema’s state security was withdrawn, after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa ruled that his life was no longer in danger.
During his hate speech trial in the Johannesburg High Court this year, Malema used private security outfit Mikeric Security and Training Solutions to guard him.
Mashala trained as an underground ANC cadre in Sekgosese Village in Limpopo in the 1990s while a pupil there. Malema had received similar training.
Mashala joined the SAPS in 1999 as a reservist, where he worked until 2006. He says that during that time, he secured the arrest and conviction of several high-profile criminals and testified against them in court.
Mashala came to Joburg after he failed to get a permanent post at Sekgosese police station in 2006. He continued applying for a job in the police, but failed.
It was then that he approached Malema for help.
“After I asked him for help, the president (Malema) replied: ‘We are going to work together. After that I will enlist you in the VIP unit’.
“He made it clear to me that he wanted me to work as his bodyguard. He said we needed to work together to ensure that Jacob Zuma becomes president of the country after the (2009 national) election. He again promised to enlist me in the metro police or SAPS.”
Mashala fought back tears as he explained the lengths he went to protect Malema in strife-torn political areas of KwaZulu-Natal. He was also at Malema’s side when he went to campaign at Orania, a conservative Afrikaner bastion outside Kimberley.
“I was working with a hope that I would secure a permanent job in the future. After the elections, I again raised my frustration with the president. He said I should not worry – ‘We are sorting it out’, I was told.”
Mashala said Malema promised him that former deputy minister of police Fikile Mbalula would give him a job in the VIP unit. But then Mbalula’s own bodyguard, known only as Eric, got the job.
Mashala has been jobless for almost two years. He said he was trying to survive by working part-time as a driver, but got fired as soon as his employers become aware of his past links with Malema.
ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu has dismissed Mashala’s assertions.
He confirmed Malema offered Mashala a job before the elections when he desperately needed a driver. He denied, however, that Malema promised to enlist his accuser in the SAPS VIP unit. Malema could not be reached for comment.