Traffic official. (Duncan Alfreds, New24)
Cape Town - Cosatu has maintained its claims of discrimination against black metro police and traffic officers after mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith laid a charge of crimen injuria against its provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich.
This after he claimed in a statement on behalf of the trade union federation that black officers were "undertrained and under-resourced to do their jobs" and that the City of Cape Town paid them less than their white counterparts.
The statement followed an incident in Khayelitsha in which two provincial traffic officers were shot earlier this month during routine patrols in Harare.
A Toyota Avanza drove up and shots were fired at them.
Ehrenreich said after the incident that sending officers into the field without guns was "setting them up to be slaughtered by criminals".
"The officers must have the means to defend communities and themselves and must have the safest possibilities to do their jobs. The fact that JP Smith and MEC [Donald] Grant sends officers out without the support or resources, just shows the regard he has for black police persons.
"Their conduct is the kind of sophisticated racism that has become a feature of the City of Cape Town and Western Cape Province - where they smile at black people, but still treat them second class, in conditions at work and conditions in the townships."
He referred to Smith as "the most inept safety head in the city’s history".
'Race obsessed, schoolyard bully'
Smith on Wednesday laid criminal charges at the Cape Town central police station.
According to the City, the crimen injuria charges were supported by the chiefs of traffic, Law Enforcement and Metro Police, in response to Ehrenreich’s claims.
It countered that the allegations were false and "[easily] disproved with concrete evidence".
But Ehrenreich dismissed the criminal charge laid against him.
"I wish he would put as much effort into making the Cape Flats safer as he does on these gimmicks," he told News24.
"He is an idiot and someone I pay very little attention to. This case will go nowhere and it is a waste of police resources."
Smith countered that Ehrenreich was the "Donald Trump of Cape Town politics", saying he had a list of all his "nonsense claims over the past five years".
He said affidavits from the departments’ chiefs - all of whom were coloured - were also handed in when the charge was laid, dismissing Ehrenreich’s "outrageous claims".
"He is like a race obsessed, schoolyard bully [who resorts to name calling]," Smith said.
"And he was the least effective councillor in council."
'We stand by our statement'
Smith pointed out that, under his leadership, gang violence on the Cape Flats had decreased over the years.
"This year alone, gang violence is down by 19%," he said.
"Every week, I am in the streets during operations. I have never seen him doing the same."
He said he was laying charges against Ehrenreich because he refused to "sit down and allow him to lie".
"We should have done this long ago," Smith added.
Cosatu, in turn, said it had decided to "take the path of industrial relations" through the SA Municipal Workers Union "in relation to the discrimination".
"We stand by our statement and will be getting specific incidents to underpin the claims of reckless endangerment," Cosatu said.
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