Parties scoff at metro police overtime request
Durban - THE issue of overtime pay to Durban metro police was hotly debated at a special executive committee (Exco) meeting on Monday.
When the matter was tabled at the municipal meeting, opposition parties scoffed at the request.
According to the agenda, “authority is being sought for metro police additional overtime funding of R60 million in order to provide for the forecast overspend on overtime still to be incurred between February and June 2021”.
DA Exco member Thabani Mthethwa said that over the past few years the issue of overtime was a problem. “What necessitated the overtime?”
Mthethwa said it was unfair that the city injected loads of money into the metro police and did not get much in return. He cited an example of how long it took metro police to respond to emergencies. The DA abstained from voting on the matter.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi did not understand why there was a need for such overtime when there was a recruitment drive. He said all they wanted from the police was for them to be visible. He said they would take the matter to the party’s caucus to discuss it.
He later told the Daily News that the eThekwini Municipality’s audit committee had always complained about the overtime being paid to metro police. “If people listened to the audit committee, we would not have many problems,” he said.
Nkosi said it would be understandable if they saw metro police at night when many crimes were committed and by-laws being broken. He said the situation had deteriorated to a point where a person could not leave their car unattended in city centre despite metro police officers being around.
“These police officers are too busy playing on their phones,” he said. The only officers warranted receiving overtime, he said, were those who escorted VIPs as they often worked long hours.
Nkosi said investigations would show that there were people who received the majority of the overtime in the metro police force.
This was not the first time that the matter of overtime in the metro police arose. The Daily News’s sister paper, The Sunday Tribune, last month reported on an investigation by eThekwini’s City Integrity and Investigations Unit which highlighted some of the goings-on at the metro police.
This included how during a six-month period in 2019, scholar patrols were paid more than R8 million in overtime. Further, a superintendent doubled his salary in overtime payments. The superintendent was paid more than R500 000 in overtime. This was part of the R1 210 181.63 he had allegedly accumulated between July 2017 and June 2019.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda argued: “Overtime in metro police will be unavoidable.” He said they did various things to help in the functioning of the municipality and that police often responded to incidents that should have had the SAPS respond to.
Dr Musa Gumede, the deputy city manager for community and emergency services, said they had made strides in reducing the amount of overtime used. He could count 30 ways they did this. Some of these included making officers work four days on and four days off, and others included reduced time for the land invasion unit as most land invasions happened at night.