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MMC's call for JMPD chief David Tembe’s immediate suspension is incorrect: Mayor Makhubo

Geoff Makhubo
Geoff Makhubo
Image: Robert Tshabalala

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo has admitted that the order to suspended JMPD chief David Tembe “today” by his member of the mayoral committee for public safety (MMC) Mally Mokoena was premature.

Makhubo said Mokoena, although not incorrect to make the “plea” for Tembe’s suspension, she should have followed the correct processes which include affording him to explain why he should not be suspended.

Makhubo was reacting to a leaked audio clip, first reported on by SowetanLIVE, where Mokoena was heard giving an order to suspend Tembe during a meeting with JMPD officers.

The leaked audio is causing panic in the city with DA council member Michael Sun saying it points to political interference. In the audio clip, Mokoena is heard during a private conversation ordering her HOD William Mazibuko to “show your muscle and suspend Tembe today”.

Makhubo said the leaked audio was unfortunate and that the remarks by Mokoena were incorrect.

He however said it was not political interference as he strongly believed Mokoena was well within her rights to make such a call for his suspension while the city was investigating him.

Tembe is being investigated for alleged unlawful suspension of officers and also for grievances that have been laid by a number of JMPD officers.

The investigation on the suspension of the officers is looking into an alleged unlawful use of his powers. It is believed that Tembe did not have the authority to suspend them.

“Of course the processes must be followed. Tembe was hired by council so there must be a report to council that must process the suspension if at all,” Makhubo said at a briefing in the City of Johannesburg offices.

“I don’t think the ‘suspend today’ was correct but the plea to say can we be given a chance to understand what is happening at JMPD and to restore stability at JMPD does not mean that you are firing somebody [but] from the problems we’ve heard, it’s worrisome, it’s very worrisome.”

Makhubo said that the grievances against Tembe, which he did not disclose in full citing the ongoing investigation, which have come forward had gravely concerned him.

He said some of the issues which have caused dysfunctionality of the JMPD related to people being moved from their positions by virtue of them not getting along with Tembe.

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