Cops with criminal rap sheets could still be employed

2014-07-28 00:00

COPS with criminal rap sheets could still be employed by the eThekwini Metro despite an audit into criminal records completed two years ago.

This revelation comes after several weeks of crisis management at the beleaguered Metro Police who have been found to be operating illegally without any civilian oversight while last week five officers were fingered — with four of them still on the run — in the robbery and hijacking of an Umhlanga businessman on Tuesday night.

A well-placed Metro Police source, who could not be named, said that a criminal record audit was conducted two years ago.

He said that several officers who had failed to divulge prior convictions were identified and disciplinary action instituted but is unclear if they were dismissed.

The source added that since then no monitoring had been conducted, but said that it was both needed and necessary.

“When we have those in our ranks who commit armed robberies in uniform, it begs the question as to how many have done it before? Another audit on this is urgently needed,” he said.

The IFP municipal caucus leader Mduduzi Nkosi said the Metro Police lacked any form of oversight.

He said a probe into the Metro Police — called by city manager Sbu Sithole in January — seemed to be non-existent.

“We have no transparency in our municipality over the municipal police. The probe called by Sithole was needed but I believe he has been threatened or intimidated not to persevere. He is under pressure and cannot speak his mind,” said Nkosi.

The DA caucus whip for the safety and security committee Shontel Asbury said all discussions surrounding the Durban Metro police were “hushed up” at committee level.

“We only hear about issues surrounding the police when it is at the executive council level. All other departments such as fire and rescue submit reports to us but not the Metro Police. They always circumvent us,” said Asbury.

Neither Asbury nor Nkosi were aware of the audit two years ago.

In a separate statement, DA KZN spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison Rishigen Viranna called on Community Safety MEC Willies ­Mchunu to “exercise his oversight authority in Durban’s Metro Police Department as a matter of urgency”.

“It is clear that the Durban Metro Police Department is becoming a liability. There is something seriously wrong with the metro police and I would like to urge Mchunu to step in speedily as their failure reflects negatively on his department,” said Viranna.

In January Sithole said the city would appoint an independent body to conduct an investigation into the Durban Metro police. Sithole said the independent body would look into various issues in the force and he wanted Durban’s police to have a reputation similar to those in New York and Los Angeles.

The eThekwini Metro was contacted last week for comment but still had not responded at the time of going to press last night.

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