Meeting over police station lock-out

2013-08-26 00:00

POLICE Minister Nathi Mthethwa will convene an urgent meeting with Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi following last week’s lock-out at a Newcastle police station.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi told The Witness that the meeting is scheduled for this week.

“The ministry is concerned about the situation. Effective policing requires conducive working conditions. The ministers will be discussing this issue in particular and others that negatively affect service delivery,” said Mnisi.

KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane, however, said service delivery was not affected by the lock-out at the Newcastle station. “These were specialised units. On the provincial level, MEC Willies Mchunu will be meeting the police, Public Works Department and the landlord to find ways of avoiding a similar situation from happening in the future,” said Ncalane.

About 200 members of the Newcastle dog unit, public order, organised crime investigations officers and vehicle repair workshop staff were locked out of their premises because rent had allegedly not been paid since 2009, the Sunday Times reported.

Public Works Department spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu said the outstanding money was related to an increase in rent and payment wanted for the use of additional space.

“The payment is for the escalation of the rent and the extra office space,” said Mchunu.

He said the department will pay the landlord the outstanding amount within 14 days. “The department and the landlord have reached the agreement to re-open the station. The agreement comes after the landlord locked the premises on Tuesday, August 20. The police station should be open by now as we agreed.”

Mchunu added that they owe the landlord R382 239. “This is the amount in inflationary arrears, which the landlord agreed to waive, as well as for additional space occupied by police, which department was made aware of during the meeting on Thursday,” he said.

During the negotiations, the landlord wanted the department to agree to a five-year lease extension in exchange for his forfeiting the increase. The department offered a 12-month extension.

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