City gives metro cops ultimatum

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The Johannesburg City Council has warned its striking Metro police officers that those who do not report back to work today face dismissal or disciplinary action.

But it seems the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) is not heeding this warning. The union, that started the industrial action last week, has vowed to intensify the strike this week. It claims its entire membership will go on a solidarity strike starting on Thursday.

On Friday, the city obtained a labour court order barring the union from striking.

Last week the union got permission to strike and demanded that deputy director Abel Nkosi and Roodepoort testing station manager Koti Essau be suspended and that the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) should not employ pensioners.

Nkosi and Essau were suspended on Wednesday and the city has undertaken not to employ pensioners.

When the strike started the union demanded the redeployment of JMPD chief Chris Ngcobo, whom the union accuses of corruption. That was raised in a memorandum handed to city officials.

"If they do not come to work this week, they will have to face the consequences," council spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said.

Acting city manager Refik Bismilla said: "We trust that JMPD officials will now return to their duties without delay ."

On Thursday, the union spent the whole day locked in a meeting with the ANC discussing the strike action.

The ruling party spokesman, Nat Kekana, said: "All outstanding issues need to be resolved between the union and the city. Our concern is that a prolonged strike is not in the interest of the people of Johannesburg."

The ANC is understood to have told the union to go back and talk to the city since it had met all its demands. The party did not want to entertain the recall of Ngcobo and told the union as much.

Once all three demands were met, the city expected the officers back at work.

Now it wants evidence on the allegations being made by the union against the two suspended officials and Ngcobo.

Samwu regional secretary Dumisani Langa has said that as long as the city did not meet their demands, the strike would continue.