Cop strikers locked out

2012-11-20 00:00

THE Msunduzi Traffic Department has been closed indefinitely following last week’s strike and the head office building was yesterday guarded by heavily armed security guards from a private firm.

Msunduzi Municipality manager Mxolisi Nkosi told the Executive Committee (Exco) that on Friday night the municipality employed a private security firm to seal all the entrances to the department headquarters in Washington Road and nobody was allowed to enter the premises.

He said that supervisors in the department had been instructed to tell the striking traffic officers to report to the Harry Gwala stadium.

“When they return to work, they would be asked to report to the Harry Gwala stadium where police will be present to confiscate their firearms and also ask them to hand over municipal vehicles,” he said.

He said the officers would be handed letters demanding that they explain within 48 hours why they should not be suspended.

Nkosi said last week’s illegal protest by traffic officers turned nasty on Friday when the striking employees used tear gas to force colleagues to join them.

He said the municipality decided to deploy armed security guards at the head office because the situation had become “volatile”.

The striking officers said they were shocked when they arrived at work and found that they had been locked out.

The officers said they would not go to Harry Gwala stadium to hand over their firearms or vehicles.

They claimed that they were locked out because they had called for the mayor to investigate acts of mismanagement and corruption by senior management.

Nkosi said: “The problem is that these people have become a law unto themselves. That is why they do not even report to their supervisors. They all have people they report to. So when they came to work, they would have been told what to do by their respective supervisors.”

Nkosi said they had requested the provincial Road Traffic Inspectorate to have its traffic officers on stand-by to assist if necessary.

Members of the public who went to Washington Road to pay traffic fines were frustrated when they arrived there only to be told that it was closed and they should use alternative venues to pay their fines.

One of the striking officers, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We have learnt that the private security guards were given strict instructions to shoot to kill … if we forced our way into the premises.”

Nkosi said no such instructions were given. “It is a lie and an attempt to sensationalise the matter.”

DA KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), George Mari, called on Cogta MEC, Nomsa Dube to intervene by ensuring that the striking Msunduzi traffic officers returned to work and those with criminal records were de-registered immediately.

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