May 23 2011
The transfer of nearly a third of the 1 200-strong Durban metro police from the CBD to outlying areas, to address performance problems, has been put on ice for a week.
The decision to halt the transfers comes after the affected officers lodged complaints with metro police head Eugene Nzama, after learning that they would be moved.
A performance assessment initiated by Nzama several months ago revealed not only “low productivity, but also gross inefficiency in policing”.
Nzama said that the officers’ inefficiency had “greatly contributed” to the non-compliance of by-laws in the municipal region by private and business motorists, the business community, informal traders and pedestrians. He also noted that “unacceptable behaviour” from motorists had increased.
According to metro police officials, the transfers were intended to inculcate a sense of responsibility and to “groom” officers to an acceptable level of performance. The performance evaluation would be revisited quarterly to analyse work performance and identify improvements in productivity, and to assess the need to move officers to the next stage of helping them improve their performance.
The first time 400 officers learnt that they would have to report for duty elsewhere on Monday was when they saw their names on notice boards at metro police offices last week.
However, the unions cried foul, claiming the transfers were flawed, done without consulting the affected staff and in contravention of the eThekwini municipality’s transfer policy.
On Sunday, metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said the transfers had been put on hold for a week, until Nzama, who was away on metro police business, returned to his office.
“We received a lot of grievances of a personal nature and, because they were all related to the transfers, we decided to wait until Nzama returns on Monday (May 30). He needs to look into the complaints and make a decision,” said Msomi.
Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union acting regional manager Nelia van Wyk said she had been told by the affected officers that the transfers had been put on hold. “We haven’t been told anything official by the metro police, but we have been advised by our members that the transfers have been put on hold. We will look into the issue this week,” she said.
SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) branch secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni said the union was “happy” that the transfers had been postponed, saying that proper consultation between the unions and metro police authorities was needed before a decision could be made.