Traffic cops walk out of talks

2011-10-12 00:00

MSUNDUZI traffic officers walked out of a meeting called by administrator Sibusiso Sithole yesterday, saying they did not like the way he ran the meeting.

The meeting at the traffic department headquarters in Washington Road was halted when some officers sprayed teargas in the hall.

Officers who spoke to The Witness anonymously said they had prepared a document and nominated Mbuso Ncobeni to read it out to Sithole. But, they said, he did not allow it to be read.

“Sithole said we cannot speak about recommendations made by [former traffic department head] Kenny Chetty to permanently employ reservists because he is no longer part of the municipality,” he said.

He said some of the reservists have been working for more than 10 years. Some of the issues they want addressed are the deteriorating fleet, obsolete breathalysers, unfair labour practices and overtime. They also want all acting positions filled permanently by qualified officers.

He said the officers are applying for permission to strike.

Sithole said he had wanted all employees in the traffic department to voice their concerns and that he was not prepared to listen to just one person. He agreed he had told the officers that they should refrain from talking about Chetty.

“We currently have 10 vacant positions to hire reservists, but they would have to apply like anybody,” he said.

“I know that some of the instigators in the traffic department are already on their way out; that is why they are causing such anarchy,” he said.

Recently the Hawks raided the vehicle pound because some officers are allegedly engaged in criminal activities there, he added.

Sithole said he is happy with the performance of acting deputy municipal manager Kwenza Khumalo and acting senior superintendent Priscilla Mahlaba, whom the officers want dismissed.

He said ageing vehicles are a problem throughout the municipality, but the problem is being addressed.

On overtime, he said: “We must understand that the issue of overtime is now being well regulated, which makes some officers angry as they bought expensive cars because of the unreasonable overtime that they were getting.”

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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