Bay Metro Police mocked

2016-05-18 06:00
The new metro police was recently launched.

The new metro police was recently launched. (THEO JEPTHA)

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ALTHOUGH the Nelson Mandela Bay metro police was launched after great anticipation last week, the municipal workers union Samwu reckons it was all just an illusion.

“The Nelson Mandela Bay metro police are still just a name, and really just an idea that costs a lot of money and equipment, but is without a workforce,” said Mqondisi Nodongwe, regional secretary of Samwu, after the opening ceremony.

On the sidelines, a woman in a traffic uniform was screaming: “That metro police are our future, but they [the metro management] must settle with us, and stand before us and say what the Metro Police entails!”

Nodongwe supported the woman’s outburst and said it was because so far there has been no communication between workers and management.

“Our members [that include traffic officers and officers of the safety and security directorate] do not know what their new work entails. They were simply called last week and handed letters of transfer [to the metro police unit].”

He said that although the new jobs to most mean a higher rank and much better salary, all the posts are marked as acting positions.

“Why would our members want to swap a permanent job for an acting job?

“And it is no secret that there is no money or budget for operating costs of the metro police. How will our members’ salaries be paid? Will they all be fired from their new acting jobs when the money runs out?” asked Nodongwe.

Another reason why some Samwu members are digging in their heels against the metro police, is that disputes over payments from their current positions have not yet been finalised.

“No worker can be transferred to another structure while an investigation into payments and compensation is still pending,” said Nodongwe.

He said the managers were given a deadline of June 13 to sort out disputes, before any negotiations for the Metro Police could proceed.

Danny Jordaan, executive mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, gave the assurance at the launch ceremony that the Metro Police does not threaten current officials’ job security. “On the contrary, it will create opportunities for further education, employment and career development.”

After the ceremony the metro said at a news conference that a workshop of two days and more than 12 consultation sessions with employees and their union representatives preceded the day.

“We have an approved structure and graded posts. The implementation is done in stages and 78 officials have already accepted positions,” said Vuyo Zitumane, acting executive director of corporate services.

Offices for the Metro Police are being set up in KwaNobuhle and Helenvale.

Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane also had much to say about the Metro Police during his brief visit to Port Elizabeth the past weekend.

“Those officers do not seem even a little dangerous. They may want to start by paying a visit to the gym.

“They seem to just have been asked over Whatsapp on the morning of the launch to pose as metro police officers,” said Maimane to about 50 people in the gang-ridden Helenvale.

“No gangster or criminal will be afraid of any of the newly appointed NMB metro police officers,” said Maimane.

He visited Davidene and Ricardo Ruiters, whose two-year-old daughter, Caydene, was shot dead in front of them in December. A stray bullet from one of 11 shots that were fired in the street by suspected gang members, hit Caydene in the heart while she played in front of her home.

Maimane wrapped his arms around the Ruiters couple and said that the Port Elizabeth Metro Police were supposed to be up and running in 2012.

“But today, in 2016, blood is flowing daily, and the new Metro Police cannot stop the gangs from killing the Caydenes of the city.”

He said as a parent he understands very well that something needs to be done in the northern suburbs of Port Elizabeth to combat gang crime. “It is time that the region produces more than gangsters. It is time for the potential of everyone who lives here to be developed and used to promote the area.”

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