metro police 'crossing line'

JOHANNESBURG metro police officers who did not report for work for the last two days are "undisciplined and lack respect for their uniform and due process".

DA spokesperson on community safety John Moodey said this after more than 100 metro cops gathered for the second day running at the JMPD Village Main headquarters yesterday demanding that metro police chief Chris Ngcobo be fired.

Moodey said the officers, who are members of South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), should be given written warnings immediately.

ANC provincial spokesperson Dumisani Ntuli said the party would "engage Samwu but the union must respect worker-employee bargaining arrangements and how to attend meetings. They can't be seen to be crossing the line".

Moodey said that double standards should stop applying to metro officers. "When the soldiers went on strike with no uniforms and no guns, they got fired.

"These guys have unauthorised gatherings in full uniform, carrying state guns and driving state vehicles.

"Last time they went on a shooting spree with the SAPS and to date no action has been taken. When we inquire we hit brick walls," he said.

But Cosatu is preparing to rope in the support of Ekurhuleni and Tshwane metro police officers to pressurise the City of Johannesburg to fire Ngcobo.

Its provincial chairperson Mosanku Tseki told the officers that Cosatu fully supports the permanent removal of Ngcobo. He said Cosatu would initiate mass action, "whether they call it legal or illegal".

JMPD's director of operations and acting police chief David Tembe was scheduled to address officers but failed to show up. Samwu accused him of running away from his own people.

JMPD spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said senior management did not know about yesterday's gathering so could not confiscate state property.

Hardest hit by the unapproved meeting were testing stations where people could not renew licences, make payments or confirm bookings.