Durban cops threaten to make Metro ungovernable
Dispute over manager and contractors being made permanent staff
Durban metro police on Friday threatened to make the city ungovernable if municipal manager Sbu Sithole did not meet their demands.
“If this is moving at a snail’s pace we will make the city ungovernable,” SA Municipal Workers Union regional secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni said.
“[Durban metro police head] Eugene Nzama must be removed and we are not willing to compromise,” he said.
Metro police officers picketed outside the municipality’s office on Friday, calling for Nzama’s resignation.
They carried posters reading: “Away with incompetency [sic] of head of metro” and “Farewell Nzama”.
“We are struggling because of Nzama,” they sang.
Nyandeni said the city had promised to make contractors permanent employees by July 1. Protesters also wanted unqualified workers to be allowed to attend training..
Nzama returned to work last Monday after being placed on special leave earlier this year. The city’s disaster management head Vincent Ngubane replaced Nzama. Nzama however approached the Durban Labour Court to challenge his special leave and resumed his duties in July.
“We don’t understand how Nzama was reinstated, we want answers,” Nyandeni said.
Sithole was not in his office to receive a memorandum of demands, and sent his deputy Sipho Cele.
“We are saddened that Sithole didn’t come to address us. We wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth so we could hold him accountable,” Nyandeni said.
A metro police employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We don’t want Nzama, he is abusing us because he doesn’t want us to be hired as permanent workers”.
Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said the city still intended converting contract workers to permanent employees.
“Nzama’s issue is receiving attention. He also has rights as an employee.”
Earlier Durban’s main street, Dr Pixley ka Seme Road (West Street), was blocked to traffic as the group protested outside City Hall.