Angry union ‘declares war’ on metro force

ON THE STREETS: Nelson Mandela Bay metro police and traffic officers inspect vehicles in Beach Road as the new metro police operations roll out.
ON THE STREETS: Nelson Mandela Bay metro police and traffic officers inspect vehicles in Beach Road as the new metro police operations roll out.

JUST days after the unveiling of Nelson Mandela Bay’s specialist crime-fighting metro police force, it is beset by infighting, training glitches and questions over combat-readiness.

This emerged as the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), at loggerheads with the city’s leadership over the unit’s launch, lashed out yesterday, “declaring war” after four shop stewards – long-serving senior traffic officials – were suspended.

Many municipal traffic and security officers, appointed acting metro police officers just hours before the controversial new force’s launch last week, have not yet received training, orders or rank.

But the municipality insists there are more than 200 trained officers, with vetting processes continuing – allowable as the appointments are in acting positions.

This comes after assurances by mayor Danny Jordaan eight days ago that the unit was “combat-ready” and set to be deployed within the next week.

Clashes between traffic officers and police disrupted the launch, with unions insisting negotiations were ongoing.

Criticism has also been levelled as many officers do not meet minimum criteria, including basic police training.

Samwu regional secretary Mqondisi Nodongwe said the union was declaring war in the wake of the suspensions.

“They are trying to silence the truth. This is all completely illegal. They are victimising our members. We will not tolerate this,” he said.

“It appears the municipality has abandoned negotiations. We are meeting our legal team on Monday to discuss options.

“The possible route we may go is to interdict them to stop the roll-out.”

Nodongwe said the municipality had taken members from its security division, who were peace officers, and dressed them in metro police uniforms.

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