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Sensationalist City of Johannesburg Mayor Prosecuting Labour Disputes via the Media and the Attention Seeking Hawks

  • Friday, 13 January 2017 10:32
13 January 2017

We have noted media statements attributed to City of Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba and media interviews, wherein he makes criminal allegations against our members at various licensing stations in the city. We need to place it on record that SAMWU has always condemned corruption in all its manifestations in the strongest possible terms and that view will never cease.
We also need to emphasise that any allegations of misconduct in the workplace ought to be treated with caution and all applicable disciplinary processes need to be followed. It is unacceptable for any person in council leadership to use such for political mileage, as these allegations are of a serious and sensitive nature especially if they are proven untrue.

We also wish to further emphasise the fact that SAMWU has and will never condone or hide any form of criminality as if it in conflict with our values and moral standing. We equally condemn the unwarranted media spectacle created by the mayor in pursuit of appropriating ill-deserved credit on an investigation his administration knows nothing about!

Without any fear of contradiction, we want to state that as much as we agree with the mayor that corruption is public enemy number 1, his statement of the 10/01/2017 is tainted with glaring factual distortions. The actual fact is that Mr. Shadrack Sibiya was appointed long after the investigation was initiated and that the allegations were alive long before his political appointment.

We implore the mayor to desist from using these allegations against our members to elevate the political performance of Mr. Sibiya without any merit. We are of an educated view that both the criminal and internal allegations will not be sustained in any fair enquiry and we will support our members until the conclusion of such processes. In fact, Mr Sibiya still has an appointment with the courts which makes one to question the appointment of an individual who is currently facing serious charges, yet people want to glorify themselves as the moral high ground.

As much as the mayor seems to be selectively media friendly on issues that he perceives as being of political benefit to his party, we detest his utilisation of these untested allegations to create panic, innuendo and to paint our members with a corruption brush without first allowing disciplinary processes to unfold.

Without delving into the merits of the allegations, it should be noted that we are of the firm view that in most instances the allegations are primarily about policy deviations on the part of our members and such are informed by operational reasons. These cannot be construed to infer criminal intent and we find it unacceptable for the mayor to create a media frenzy over the issue and for the Hawks to make this an alleged priority crime, it certainly bothers on Mr. Shadrack Sibiya seeking media leverage and attention, when his own appointment seeks to be investigated more especially with his colourful past.

Their strategy of announcing that 106 officials are going to be arrested is meant to unfairly induce trauma, uncertainty and panic, with the hope that some officials will provide them with the evidence they seem to lack. We are of the view that they have enough resources to arrest all of them within a blink of an eye, however for cheap political points they choose to arrest them via the media, they are pulling another Pravin Gordan approach. The actions of the mayor are a clear barometer of his political experience and knowledge and we cordially advice him not to politisize labour issues.

The mayor is quoted as having said that “officials had colluded with syndicates to illegally obtain driver’s licences, licence discs and vehicle registrations and they would then pocket cash that would have ordinarily been paid to the City and utilised for much needed service delivery”.

If the city had appointed a competent director of Licensing and Prosecutions not the incumbent, the mayor would have been advised that all the aforementioned transactions can only be processed on the system when payment for the specific transactions is made, unless the mayor is telling the public that bribe money exchanged outside of the licensing system is revenue for the city.

This distortion is clearly for political gain at the expense of our poor members and if the officials are colluding with the syndicates, where are these syndicates and why has the Hawks not arrested these faceless and nameless members of these alleged syndicates?

If the mayor is serious about corruption, since these losses accumulated from 2008, we would advice him to revisit the AG’s report on fruitless expenditure at LIPCO and remove all the incompetent managers and directors responsible in that department.

SAMWU has consistently raised corruption issues within JMPD since 2006, hence the many strikes that plagued the department leading up to the infamous freeway blockade by JMPD employees and the embarrassing so called investigation of the former Chief of Police.

The fight against corruption at JMPD has always been on SAMWU’s agenda, however it is absolutely disconcerting to note that no managers or senior staff members have been arrested or suspended when all these alleged shenanigans occurred under their watch. How in the world can such large scale corruption dating as far back as 2008 occur undetected?

The answer is simple, they are complicit and have been able to cover up their misdeeds. The manner in which JMPD dealt with the Nkonki Report is a clear illustration of the point, wherein senior white officials were let off the hook over the lost millions at licensing and only black junior officials were charged. The political elite also saw an opportunity to feed at Licensing Department, hence they removed it from JMPD to make it report to an HOD whose appointment is questionable.

He then appointed a Director of LIPCO, who is clueless about Licensing and in turn she further appointed a deputy director who is a career police officer and knows nothing about Licensing. The same HOD and Director of Licensing facilitated the recruitment of friends and relatives for the same positions which our members are occupying.

This whole spectacle is meant to fool the public into believing that corruption is being fought when the truth is that there is a group of friends and relatives of the political elite who are already waiting in the wings to replace our members with the collusive blessing of corrupt HR officials. Senior managers have hired their own children at JMPD in their departments, while post are allegedly being sold for R5000 by corrupt HR officials. The same reason led to our strike in December 2015, however the corrupt administration unlawfully suspended our shop-stewards and arrogantly forged ahead with the irregular appointments anyway in spite of agreeing to freeze the posts. Why do some of the idle new recruits emanate from the church that Director Mdebele is attending and why are others related to members of management?

One critical question to be asked about the allegations dating back to 2008 is where was Internal Affairs when all this was happening? The answer is simple the leadership of the unit is only concerned about promoting themselves to positions of seniority without academic or operational justification. They have managed to deceive the unfit Chief of Police to authorise malicious prosecutions of our shop-stewards because his signature is more available than free condoms.

The Chief of Police made irregular appointments based on political instructions from the former MMC. At Internal affairs people have been promoted to high ranking positions beyond their intellectual capacity and are rendering the unit which is tasked with dealing with corruption dysfunctional.

The mayor would do labour and citizens of the City a huge favour by removing the prosecution of hearings from Internal Affairs as none of them possess the acumen or academic qualifications to do so and to utilise idle labour specialists at Labour Relations who are being paid for doing nothing as their cases a being done by external parties because of an alleged insurance policy against unfair dismissals the previous administration had taken.

This is wasteful expenditure when competent labour relations specialists are being paid to operate recording devices and provide parties with water during hearings. Internal Affairs are predominantly using the same 3 notorious and incompetent white presiding officers in the disciplinary hearings when competent blacks are available because the HOD and Chief of Police are re-colonised and captured.

Senior management at Internal Affairs with their ill-gotten promotions ought to be rotated and moved to other operational command positions in order to enable them to acquire other skills because the longer they are kept in that department they have become corrupted and use the department to fight their proxy and personal battles. Besides discipline is an operational issue and the aforementioned commanders have no specialised skills, bar certificates that all metro police officers have.

A competent CCMA accredited commissioner must be hired to assist with chairing as well as training of presiding officers and prosecutors on an ongoing basis. The HOD must get rid of people in management who have reached their pensionable ages, especially at Internal Affairs as they add no operational value.

Ineffective overseas trips by incompetent Internal Affairs senior managers with no operational benefits must be stopped. How does the mayor intend to root out corruption at JMPD when the directors are an embodiment of corruption? And the mayor relies on them to fight it! When are they embarking on the promised skills audit to root out the chronic incompetence and corruption at that senior level?

We would also advice him not to elevate the performance of MMC Michael Sun without merits. The alleged “new” investigation has yielded no new facts, he also found the allegations already in existence when he was appointed.

It is noteworthy to mention that we had long engaged Director Mdebele (LIPCO) about the allegations and advised her that due processes ought to be adhered to in the prosecution of the allegations as they are purely labour issues and the grandstanding by the mayor and the MMC is unwarranted.

We are of the view that the mayor must come to grips with the fact that his party is governing and that he must work with labour to resolve issues and not to treat our members as guinea pigs for their public relations expeditions.

We fully support the anti corruption efforts employed and we urge the mayor to root out and reverse irregular appointments made by the corrupt leadership of JMPD and Public Safety as part of a broader strategy to clean up both JMPD and LIPCO.

There can never be labour peace without a full investigation of the irregular appointments made recently at JMPD, wherein in some instances people were appointed because they have offspring with senior commanders and the seniors are paying maintenance via irregular promotions.

The mayor would do the public justice by removing the HOD, Director of Licensing, Deputy Director of Human Resources and a search for a new competent and politically uncompromised Chief of Police. The systemic and institutional corruption at JMPD is a microcosm of what is taking place nationally at all other traffic departments.

This does not assist the Minister of Transport to call a “get together” of many corrupt commanders, who are either irregularly appointed, receive kickbacks or are grossly incompetent under one roof in KZN before the festive season, the results are there for every member of the public to see, the statistics don’t lie.

Now the Minister is calling for legislative amendments instead of rooting out corruption from the head and we may possibly face undesired outcomes of corruption increasing because the price of the bribe will also increase with the legislative amendments and guilty parties will be amenable to paying huge bribes to avert lengthy prison sentences and would it be an effective deterrent?

Until corruption both at provincial and municipal level is uprooted from top management, the fight against corruption would be an exercise in futility.

Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province

Caleb Mokoena

Provincial Secretary

083 579 2209


Jack Mokalapa

Johannesburg Regional Organiser

071 025 4225