WATCH: Meet Joburg’s cop of the year, Superintendent Manyama
Johannesburg - Superintendent Phineas Manyama, the veteran police officer with 30 years service at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, was on Tuesday night crowned as the city’s cop of the year for 2019.
Manyama, the father of four, is the head of JMPD’s Integrated Operations Centre (IOC), a crime fighting undercover unit focusing on the inner city.
He is also the head of the illegal dumping unit, which focuses on the inner city, and also heads JMPD’s internal vehicle monitoring unit, which aims to catch, educate and take action against officers who abuse JMPD vehicles.
When Manyama took over the IOC at the start of the year, he turned the unit on its head and developed his own strategy. He was essentially tasked with reducing crime in the inner city and ensuring police cracked down hard on criminals.
Speaking to Independent Media from JMPD’s headquarters, he said his dedication to serving the people of Johannesburg still kept him going every day.
“Everyday when I get up and go to work, I do not think that I will die. All I think of is helping the public and today I have to come with an arrest, nothing else. If there is no arrest, I do not feel comfortable. I want to see our people happy, we want to clean the streets,” he said.
“Next year I will continue with the same momentum and more. My plan for next year will be different to this one. Since the department was launched we use the same strategy, we will find ways to change here and there,” he said.
Manyama said at least 150 police officers had been charged for abusing police vehicle resources since he was handed the responsibility of running the vehicle monitoring unit.
“These are not our cars, they are the public’s cars. We cannot be messing up the publics' goods. It is not good for people to lose their jobs, but as a police officer you must know that the public is watching, when you do wrong in public, someone is always watching and we have to act on that.
“Before it was like punishment to them, but as time goes on the police officers started giving me information about who is abusing the cars and I always said to them do not look at this as punishment. My job with this unit was to educate them, because these resources are not for us, they are for all the people of the city.
“Some of the officers were stealing the tags of other officers and they were using the cars for all sorts of wrong things. They go to church with the cars, they go shopping with cars and they are taking their kids with the cars and all sorts of things,” he said.
“I always say, if I do something wrong as a vehicle monitor controller, deal with me too. Let us do the right thing for the department, because if it falls here, where will we work,” he said.
Former Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba paid a special tribute to all officers who put their lives on the line to protect residents.
“When you leave your homes to go to work you leave your families with uncertainty, not knowing if you will return home alive or not. You do it with dedication and passion, for that I salute you.
“The days of law enforcement officials being criticised for doing their job are over. We must reclaim the city from criminals, drug lords and illegal traders,” he was quoted as saying by Joburg.co.za.
Senior Superintendent Wayne Minaar, the spokesperson for the JMPD, said Manyama was an exemplary leader within the organisation.
“Mr Manyama has been used in many roles because of his excellent leadership skills. He is very exemplary as a superintendent. There was a problem with the traffic on the M2 when the freeway was closed, there was lots of congestion in the area.
“Under Manyama’s commanding leadership, he had 400 officers that he was giving duties to and all of them did their jobs with a smile, that is the type of leader he is,” said Minaar.
In the period of July to September, Manyama’s operations have seen 145 suspects arrested for various crimes including unlawful possession of firearms, hijackings, burglary, rape and attempted murder, to name but a few.
Manyama said his leadership style was to command and control, not with fear, but with authority and care.
“My traffic officers must be free, they must relax, but they know that when it is time to work we work, when it is time to relax, we relax. They know what I like and what I don’t like,” he said.
Manyama said it was important for senior officers to lead by example towards younger officers.
“They are like your children, if you cannot show them the way, they will have no direction,” he said.
Manyama said young police officers could be influenced to do the right things and not be misled to become bad apples.
“When there is no commander in control, how is the officer going to do the right thing?”
Manyama was heralded as the best cop in Johannesburg for his commitment and had worked the most hours out of any officer in the city. He also forfeited his long service leave to serve the public.
And one of the JMPD’s operations which saw him bag the award was the arresting of 10 suspects who were allegedly running a syndicate of stealing diesel from the municipality.
More than 16 000 litres of diesel had been stolen before Manyama and the crew arrested the suspects.
“We were doing nightshift and there were cars that were collecting diesel from the bus and selling this diesel to Katlehong. When they arrived, it was tough.
“We chased them and we managed to arrest them. They were trying to destroy the City of Joburg. We arrested a group at the bus depot and the rest we arrested in Katlehong,” said Manyama.
He said when he did eventually retire from policing, he wanted those who remained to be exemplary in their work, as he was.
“On the day that I retire, those who will still be in the department must know we had such a commander - they must do the same.
“If my diary is open, I have to be out with my subordinates. If there is a task to do, I must be with them, I must make sure. I do not feel happy when I do not see them, because it is like I dump them,” he said.
Manyama was awarded with a R5000 cash prize and a Volkswagen Polo Vivo sponsored by Drive Dry.
A Kaizer Chiefs supporter, Manyama would have gone to bed smiling on Wednesday night after his club won 4-0 in a league match in Cape Town.