City will not be bullied by taxis

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NM METRO BONGANI1

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The newly appointed acting head of eThekwini metro police Vincent Ngubane, says he will not allow taxi operators to turn Durban streets into zones of lawlessness. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

The newly appointed acting head of eThekwini Metro Police, Vincent Ngubane, says he will not allow taxi operators to turn Durban into a chaotic city.

Ngubane, 47, will be at the helm for three months, ending in August. He has replaced Eugene Nzama, who is on special leave pending an investigation into alleged misconduct.

He is the city’s head of Disaster Management and the Emergency Control Unit.

Ngubane said he would use his time in the hot seat to ensure that officers worked efficiently and that no one forced them to compromise the security of the city.

One of his priorities would be to grant permanent employment to all temporary police officers, he said.

For the past few months the metro police have been embarrassed by strike protests by officers who are members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu).

“This week I had a meeting with Samwu, who gave me a list of things they want addressed.

“I will also be meeting the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union to get their grievances.

“Samwu gave me a list of seven grievances, which, I think, would be addressed within two months. In fact those grievances are inter-related, so they can easily be addressed,” he said.

Samwu’s grievances include filling 18 senior positions, which the union claims, Nzama refused to fill.

The union also asked that Ngubane to facilitate a workshop for members of the disciplinary committee who have been accused of double standards when conducting disciplinary hearings.

It wants him to deal with senior officers who abuse police vehicles, and to put an end to officers working for private companies.

Ngubane said temporary police officers would be permanently absorbed into the force and trained. Those who qualified would be promoted.

He said about R40 million was needed for employment benefits, training and to help officers get driving licences.

He has promised to oversee the investigations into allegations that 30 constables obtained their licences illegally. The allegations were among those contained in the report by the forensic auditing firm, Manase and Associates.

The Manase report was commissioned by Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube to investigations allegations of misconduct within the municipality, including the metro police.

The report, which Dube released in February, recommended that disciplinary action be taken against a number of officials found to have committed various offences. Sam-wu is expecting Ngubane to start instituting those recommendations.

He confirmed there were officers who owned taxis. He said they would be dealt with because they were contravening metro police policy.

On the R300m outstanding traffic fines owed by taxi operators, Ngubane

said: “They will pay every cent they owe the municipality”

The city is also owed R1.5 billion in traffic fines by ordinary motorists, of which R2m is for infringements by government vehicles.

“They (taxis operators) owe big money and we want them to pay it. We are not going to cancel those warrants because they were issued by a court. If they want those warrants cancelled, they should approach the court,” he said.

Most of the offences include illegal parking, jumping red robots and overloading, which, Ngubane said, were inexcusable.

“We will constitute a team to negotiate with the taxi owners, but we will continue to issue fines and make arrests. Taxi owners will never be allowed to take over the city and run it down.

“We have a list people with outstanding fines who we will start approaching for payment. Top of the list are taxis.” - The Mercury


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