Samwu threatens to strike

THE South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has vowed to go on strike if one of its members, who blew the whistle on an alleged traffic fine scam at the City of Cape Town, is fired.

At a meeting of about 50 off-duty traffic officers outside the city's Athlone Soccer Stadium on Saturday, branch secretary Mikel Khumalo said those involved in the scam were not suspended.

Instead the whistleblower is being victimised and charged with eight counts of misconduct by his bosses, Khumalo said.

Last month Sowetan broke the story about a dossier, handed by the union to mayor Dan Plato and the Hawks. The dossier contained pictures of an alleged loan shark known as Halfie who was allowed by top cops to sit inside a city vehicle.

It is alleged that motorists with unpaid fines were detained in a bus until they called a relative to bring cash equal to the fine and a handling fee of R1500.

Khumalo said the whistleblower, who had since been demoted and had his salary blocked and his city vehicle taken away, is going through "living hell" at work.

He said sympathetic colleagues who were trying to give him a lift to work had been served with warning letters to stop doing so.

In a letter to city manager Achmat Ebrahim, Khumalo questioned the city's approval of the Whistle Blowing Policy and Fraud Prevention Policy, if those who expose corruption are punished.

He said the policies were worth no more than "toilet paper" because of the way the "whistleblower" and others are being treated.

City spokesperson Kylie Hatton told Sowetan that the city was co-operating with the Hawks.

She said the alleged perpetrators could not be punished until proven guilty.

Hatton said she had no knowledge of the whistleblower's disciplinary hearing. If Samwu felt he was being victimised, they must complain to Richard Bosman, the city's executive director of safety and security.

But Samwu said Bosman was behind the victimisation since he was given the dossier before it was handed to the Hawks.