Decision to probe Metro cops delayed

2014-07-31 00:00

A DECISION to investigate multiple issues in Durban’s controversial Metro Police was delayed yesterday by the ANC caucus.

The call for the investigation and promises by the city that it will investigate the Metro Police have been made for well over a year.

A report was tabled before the city’s executive council — requesting R2,1 million and authority to be granted to the city manager Sbu Sithole to appoint a panel of independent experts consisting of international and local researchers.

The report admitted there was a “loss of confidence” by the public in the Metro Police.

Sithole told the eThekwini council’s executive council that the review would not be a “witch hunt”.

“This will be a review of the police structures and its leadership and historic issues using external resources,” said Sithole.

The report said the need for an investigation was based on serious allegations — many reported in The Witness — of maladministration, abuse of power, sex scandals, union problems and leadership battles.

But ANC councillor Nigel Gumede called for the decision to be “deferred” with this motion accepted by the city mayor James Nxumalo.

“The ANC caucus wants to consult with the city manager further on some issues in the report,” said Gumede.

The tabled report said while a number of problem areas had been identified, the investigation could not be undertaken on a set of assumptions identified for “investigation”.

It said an investigation could make officers “defensive and yield information that is highly selective and accusatory” and called instead that it be viewed as a “health appraisal” of the police agency.

“In doing a health appraisal the review team will be able to find out what the internal structural, cultural and leadership concerns are and what has led to them,” said the report.

Professor Monique Marks, a research professor at the Durban Institute of Technology (DUT) who has been tipped to lead the review, confirmed being in contact with the city.

“I have had discussions with the city manager and I wrote the proposal tabled before council but I am uncertain when the review will begin. It will take between six and 12 months to complete,” said Marks.

The DA’s city caucus leader Zwakhele Mncwango said before researchers were called in the city needs to provide more information on the “issues facing the police”.

“I don’t believe we should spend money on doing this until we have more details of what is wrong. It is the role of the city manager to know the problems beforehand and not call someone in to find the issues. We need more information before we can take a decision,” said Mncwango.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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