Ricochet News

Metro Police force hits the ground as disgruntled SAMWU members stage protest

By Asavela Fekema - May 13, 2016
Metro Police force hits the ground as disgruntled SAMWU members stage protest

After a two-week delay, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality finally launched its much-anticipated Metro Police amid pomp and ceremony at Vuyisile Mini Square on Friday. 

Addressing the gathering, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan said that: “We have been waiting for this day to see our men and women in blue. The Metro Police must make a contribution to make our Metro a safe environment together with the South African Police Services.

“The integrity of the badge is of outmost importance. You are called to restore trust in our communities as part of ongoing efforts to build safer communities. The badge represents honour, service, protection and integrity of the Metro Police.

“This launch is not just another ordinary event of the Metro. It symbolises our determination to ensure that when Council takes decisions, they must be implemented without delay. It symbolises our unwavering determination to contribute to the fight against crime. It symbolises our intention to strengthen traffic law enforcement. It symbolises our commitment to promote and strengthen by law enforcement,” said Mayor Jordaan.

He said that the Metro Police force was discussed in 2009 and was later gazetted in 2011 only to be implemented in 2016.

The Mayor said that the two-week delay was due to practical issues and anticipated lengthy consultations. The Metro Police force is expected to play a crucial role in the Bay’s #TakeBackTheCity campaign aimed at tackling crime in the Metro.

“We are going to win this battle, we want to make sure that when people visit the Metro they feel comfortable. No single step will be missed,” said Cllr Fikile Desi in welcoming guests at the launch.

Seemingly unfazed by disgruntled South African Municipality Workers Union (SAMWU) workers, who had a skirmish with law enforcement officers, the Executive Mayor said that “the establishment of the Metro Police will not disadvantage any of our staff members or threaten their job security in any way. Instead, it will create opportunities for further training, employment and career growth”.

The SAMWU members claimed that the Metro Police Force is there to take their jobs from them.

Regional Secretary of Samwu, Mqondisi Mdyongwe, told RNews that there was a session this morning with the politicians trying to find each other about this launch, including the SAPS.

“In the meeting it was said that the matter should be resolved by June this year,” he said.

“We are not here to fight, we are going to avoid what the police are trying to do, what they want to do they have called all the police, even the ones from Cradock, they could not appoint the police to go to Katanga,” added Mdyongwe.

The SAMWU members also alleged that they were not informed or invited to the launch.

However, while speaking at a press conference after launch Acting City Manager, Vuyo Zitumane, denied the allegations from SAMWU, adding that a two-day workshop and more than twelve sessions took place to consult with staff and their union representatives.

“We have an approved structure and graded positions with the implementation process that will be done in a phased approach. Offices have been identified and are being renovated in KwaNobuhle and Helenvale. Up to date 78 officials accepted appointments,” Zitumane said.