File photo: Metro police staff protest outside their Durban headquarters, calling for senior managers to be suspended. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Durban - Metro police would no longer be employed part-time by the eThekwini Municipality, city manager Sibusiso Sithole said on Tuesday.

He was reporting back to members of the council’s executive committee about the agreement reached with officers following a violent protest last week that brought central Durban to a halt.

“Under no circumstances should we [the city] employ officers on a part-time basis. It is a mistake we committed in the past,” he said.

After an analysis of temporary officers and budget constraints facing the municipality, Sithole said all 919 temporary officers would be employed permanently.

“Going forward, the city will aim to minimise the number of employees hired on [a] temporary basis or contracts. It is just unfair, as these workers do not get the same benefits as full-time employees,” he said.

Sithole’s comments came after disgruntled officers, whose gripes included the failure to convert temporary constable positions into permanent ones, threatened to blockade key access points in and out of the city, including the airport, harbour and the N3 at Spaghetti Junction if their demands were not meet.

The officers are also calling for their boss, Eugene Nzama, who is facing allegations of maladministration and harassment of taxi drivers, to be dismissed.

Sithole said that, while the Nzama issue remained in contention, the city was exploring all legal alternatives available to help resolve the leadership crisis in the force.

“The issue of instability is not something that must be left unattended to for a long time,” he said. - Daily News

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