Newly-appointed chief of Johannesburg Metro Police Department, David Tembe. Picture: Supplied by City of Joburg
Johannesburg - The panel that appointed David Tembe as the new head of the Joburg Metro Police Department is coming under heavy scrutiny, with the Gauteng ANC requesting a full record of the deliberations that led to it making the controversial choice.

This week, it described Tembe’s placement as a blatant disregard of appointment processes and, if it has its way, he will be removed.

On Wednesday, the office of the executive mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba, revealed the appointment, extolling Tembe’s experience in traffic law enforcement.

According to the statement, Tembe had served close to 20 years at Emergency Management Services before he was placed as director of operations for the JMPD in 2003.

“During his time with JMPD, he was awarded and commended by the National Department of Transport for innovation and excellence in traffic law enforcement. In 2011, Tembe was appointed national chief of traffic until he resigned to pursue a career as a consultant in law enforcement in 2013.”

At the time of Tembe’s resignation from the JMPD in 2011, speculation was rife that he had a rocky relationship with the then-head, Chris Ngcobo. Tembe had been placed in the position of acting head while Ngcobo was under investigation for maladministration. Ngcobo was later cleared of the charges.

However, Tembe denied the rumour that he had resigned because of the rift, claiming the pair did get on well, though he would not be drawn on his exact reasons for resigning.

Wednesday’s announcement that Tembe would return to the position proved unsurprising to the ANC, which fought against the initial recommendation in December.

ANC regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo told the Saturday Star that the initial recommendation last month seemed a “bizarre choice”, as Tembe was No 5 on a list of candidates, sorted by preference. Number one on the list was General Eric Gela, clearly backed by the ruling party.

Matongo said the council insisted that Gela did not have the experience in traffic and by-law enforcement. However, this did not explain why the other three preferred candidates were passed over for the job.

“It was never cleared up. How do you not appoint four other candidates who are higher on the list? This is a blatant undermining of the appointment process,” he said this week.

Matongo said complaints against the appointment would be lodged with the Department of Public Service and Administration, as well as at the office of the MEC for Local Government and Housing.

Yesterday afternoon, Matongo said his office was still waiting for the transcriptions of the candidate interviews as well as the minutes of the panel meeting that decided on the recommendation. However, the office of the mayor has insisted that Tembe is the right person for the job.

“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to JMPD’s leadership team for providing the necessary support during the transition period. I have every confidence in Mr Tembe’s abilities and look forward to working with him as we run a corruption-free city that respects the rule of law and stimulates economic growth for our people,” said Mashaba.

Last month, when Tembe’s recommendation was first questioned, the city reportedly said his appointment would assist in satisfying the pressing need for stability at the JMPD, as he already had the training, expertise and institutional knowledge.

Saturday Star