Traffic cops stop work in protest

2011-09-06 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality traffic officers abandoned their duties yesterday morning, demanding an urgent meeting with the municipality’s administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, to address their deteriorating working conditions.

But they were told that Sithole will only see them tomorrow because he was in a meeting with officials from the national Treasury.

The officers told The Witness on condition that they are not named that they have witnessed their department getting worse by the day and they want change because they are tired of working under stressful conditions.

Among their grievances are alleged interference by ANC members to influence promotions in their ranks.

The officers complained of nepotism and favouritism by the acting manager for public safety, Kwenza Khumalo, and said they don’t want him to head the department.

Instead they want former public safety manager Kenny Chetty, who was suspended when the administration took over the council, to be reinstated.

The officers also complained that unqualified people are promoted to senior acting positions without knowing the responsibilities.

“We are tired of seeing a trend of overlooking experienced officers,” said one.

The officers also complained about unroadworthy traffic vehicles, saying the vehicles break down regularly and that it takes more than six months to fix them because people in charge do not know their duties.

Another issue they want addressed is the health and safety of traffic officers while on duty.

“We had a meeting last week to inform the officials about the unhealthy working conditions for officers who are stationed at the Chota Motala roadworks, because they are not provided with ventilation masks when working in those dusty conditions.

“As a result, when officers have worked for a week or less, they book off sick …” said an officer.

They said they risked their lives and worked during the municipal workers’ strike and yet the municipality did not pay them a danger allowance.

The officers have drafted a petition expressing no confidence in their shop stewards, saying they are traitors.

Some officers who support Khumalo said the protestors want Chetty back because they had benefited from overtime under his management.

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