27 suspended Msunduzi traffic cops to sit out festive season

2012-12-13 00:00

THE capital will not have the services of 27 traffic officers during this festive season.

This follows a decision by the Msunduzi Municipality to suspend them after they embarked on “illegal industrial action” last month.

Traffic officers downed tools in November, saying they did not have the tools of their trade and their vehicles were not roadworthy.

They also complained about the deregistration of some of their colleagues who had criminal records, alleging that others with criminal records had not been deregistered.

During their strike, the officers blocked the entrance of the Washington Road traffic department headquarters.

During a full meeting of the city council yesterday, municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said: “The status of the traffic officers matter is twofold. The South African Municipal Workers’ Union [Samwu] has expressed its intention to appeal the court order.”

He said the municipality had suspended 27 of the 36 traffic officers who were served with letters that they would be suspended. Nine of the letters were revoked.

Nkosi said in a detailed report to the council meeting that traffic officers were employed to perform municipal traffic services and policing, which are essential services, and they were therefore not entitled to strike.

The report stated that before November 14 the protesting officers did not communicate with management before embarking on their unlawful action and there was no attempt to comply with any of the procedures prescribed in terms of the law; nor did they exhaust any of the internal grievance procedures as provided by the Collective Agreement.

“During the last week of October 2012, Msunduzi management instructed the senior superintendent for traffic, Inspector Devar, to arrange for all traffic enforcement vehicles to be taken to the Road Traffic Inspectorate [RTI] for roadworthiness tests,” Nkosi said.

However, some officers who had keys to the vehicles refused or otherwise failed to take their vehicles to the testing offices.

Nkosi said in his report that officers were well aware of the procedures they should follow to report defects in their vehicles to the municipal workshop.

“The onus is on employees who use the municipal vehicles to take reasonable steps. However, none of the officers had done so,” the manager said.

Nkosi said the municipality had been gravely prejudiced by the unlawful actions of the traffic officers.

The municipality had approached the RTI for assistance.

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