HI-TECH: Officer Endlani Nkuna with the new numberplate recognition computers which have been installed in some patrol vehicles. Picture: Anna Cox
Watch this space. This is the warning from the new chief of the Joburg metro police department (JMPD), David Tembe, who is going to institute many new plans to change the behaviour of both residents who flout the by-laws and motorists who do likewise.

Among the plans are: the introduction of patrol cars with two numberplate identification cameras on their roofs, partnering with the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metro departments, as well as the private security sector.

Sustainability was also one of the answers to by-law and traffic enforcement, Tembe said.

“People generally have a high disregard for the law - we need to change attitudes - once-off raids, blitzes and campaigns do not work. We will work in problem areas until people change their behaviour,” he said.

A good example of this was the campaign along the M1 where motorists used to constantly drive through the emergency lane to bypass traffic.

“We now have a patrol car every 5km along the route on a daily basis and motorists are starting to behave,” he said.

INNOVATION: The new numberplate recognition computers which have been installed in some patrol vehicles.   Pictures: Anna Cox

Legal driving had to become a habit.

Tembe compared this with smoking laws.

“No one today would light up a cigarette anywhere as they used to in the past. There has been a change in mindset and that is what we are aiming for,” he said.

This habit of asking for cold drinks or bribery must also come to an end, he added, saying that another of his aims was to upgrade the reputation of the department.

Another innovation would be the introduction of patrol cars with numberplate identification cameras installed on their roofs.

“We have two operating already and more will be launched soon. The cars will be patrolling the city and will be scanning and picking up any information of stolen or unlicensed vehicles, or fraudulent licences.

“We can even drive through shopping centres and pick up problem vehicles.”

The JMPD is also talking about co-operating with the SA National Roads Agency to link onto Sanral's e-toll system, which also has numberplate identification.

“The information will not be used for toll collection, but to relay to us information they pick up on stolen, cloned or unlicensed vehicles.”

The chief, speaking to The Star just days after two officers were mowed down by a drunk driver, said he also wanted to get more involved with the public.

To this end he has established an @AsktheChiefJMPD Twitter account.

ACTION: Officer Endlani Nkuna, newly appointed JMPD chief David Tembe and Inspector Yaqub Palmer. Both officers are from the JMPD crime fighting unit. Picture: Anna Cox

“I am very aware of the importance of social media, which has become very effective in communicating with the public.

“Through this media I can hear complaints directly from the public and what the issues are without getting second-hand information. It is also an important tool to communicate correct information, which is sometimes incorrectly disseminated by members of the public,” he said.

Communicating with the neighbouring municipalities’ metro policing departments of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni is also an important issue which he is working on.

“Criminals know no borders. So if we become aware that there is a stolen vehicle in a neighbouring city, their officers can accompany us to effect the arrest as it is their jurisdiction.”

The role of the private security sector should not be underestimated, and Tembe intends meeting with them for further co-operation.

“They are helping enormously. They know their areas, the crime trends and people’s movements, and we want to establish a proper relationship with them,” he said.

Tembe said he was also in talks with the courts and had received a lot of co-operation from the National Prosecuting Authority, which previously did not take by-law enforcement seriously.

“We have the full co-operation of the chief prosecutor who has even sent staff out to train our officers on how to write infringement notices properly, as one small mistake could lead to the case being thrown out of court,” he added.

IN CHARGE: Newly appointed Joburg metro police department chief David Tembe.   Picture: Anna Cox

Tembe started his career in 1981 as a paramedic with the Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS).

He was fast-tracked to become a superintendent in 1989 and in 1999 was appointed acting director in charge of the emergency services academy.

“I suppose they saw my dedication and that is why I climbed up the ladder quickly,” he said.

Thereafter, he was appointed director of operations in 2001 where he was responsible for the city’s 26 fire stations.

In 2002 Tembe was appointed acting chief of the EMS where he established the urban search and rescue operation, which has assisted with disaster management in countries like Algeria and Iran.

In 2003, Tembe was appointed director of operations at the JMPD.

He has travelled to many countries to represent South Africa and received numerous awards, including one from the national Department of Transport for innovation and excellence in traffic law enforcement.

In 2011 Tembe was appointed national chief of traffic at the Road Traffic Management Corporation, until he resigned in 2013 to become a consultant in law enforcement.

Tembe holds a national diploma in personnel management metro policing and an FBI law enforcement executive leadership qualification.