2007-04-26 : "We will take bribes"

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2007-04-26 : "We will take bribes"

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-05-04 07:18

We will take bribes
Metro Police furious over loss of allowance

April 26, 2007 Edition 1

Bongani Mthembu

Durban's Metro cops have threatened to accept bribes if the city
takes away allowances for night and shift duties.

But the city's management, unions and opposition parties have
strongly condemned the action, and the officers have been warned
that they face dismissal if they accept bribes.

An anonymous letter sent to city manager Mike Sutcliffe,
allegedly by Metro Police officers, reads: "I wonder if you are
worried about crime in this city because the criminals that we
are supposed to catch treat us better than people we serve."

A group of five officers visited the Daily News, saying they
represented a larger group of disgruntled officers. They
outlined their grievances and gave the paper a copy of their

They said that the vast majority of officers were very unhappy
about management's plan to cut their night and shift allowances,
which often totals more than R2 000, per officer, every month.

The allowance, which has been in existence for several years, is
to be taken away in May. The loss of this amount on their
monthly payslip will cause great hardship to them and their
families, they said.

The city has hit back at their threat to supplement their income
by taking bribes from lawbreakers, warning Metro Police officers
that they would be arrested and fired if they continued to
solicit bribes from motorists and other bylaws' offenders.

A group of unhappy police officers this week sent the letter to
Metro Police management and Sutcliffe demanding that the city
stops the plan to cut their allowances.

Copies of the letter were also distributed among Metro policemen
at Metro Police headquarters in Old Fort Road.

In the letter, the cops said they could make a minimum of R1 000
in four days and this would more than compensate for the loss of
their benefits.

The threat has been strongly criticised by the Independent
Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu). The union's chairman
in the eThekwini region, Sam Zulu, said in reaction that
accepting bribes would do more harm than good.

Opposition parties have also come out strongly against the move
and called on council to intervene in Metro Police affairs.

Metro Police spokesman Senior Supt John-Thomas Tyala yesterday
confirmed that management was aware of the letter and that
police officers would be losing a minimum benefit of R2 000 a
month from the beginning of next month.

He warned that police officers who took bribes would be arrested
and fired.

The internal affairs unit established by Metro Police head
Eugene Nzama two years ago has dealt with close to 130 cases of
corruption, theft and fraud involving policemen, he said.

Democratic Alliance, caucus leader, John Steenhuisen said
although he sympathised with the officers for having been given
a raw deal, it was irresponsible for them to resort to taking

"We are very worried about Metro Police, which seems to move
from one crisis to another. Something needs to be done to people
in management because they seem to be failing to execute their
duties," said Steenhuisen.

The decision to give Metro Police members allowances for night
and shift work every month was taken when seven former council
sub-structures were amalgamated to form a metropolitan council
more than a decade ago.

The decision to award the monthly allowances was agreed
unanimously by the unions and management at the time, and it
served as a compromise to compensate for the loss of some of the
benefits enjoyed by staff employed in the sub-structures that
were disbanded.

The issue of benefit cuts has come after a row over promotions
in the Metro Police.

Recently, black Metro Police officers called for the current
ranking structures to be declared null and void after 48 Indian,
15 African and eight white police officers were promoted.
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