Durban’s Metro Police Department needs urgent intervention

Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison

The DA is calling on Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu to exercise his oversight authority in Durban’s Metro Police Department as a matter of urgency following a spate of disturbing media reports of late highlighting just how dysfunctional and ineffective they have become.

Last week, it was reported that some Metro members had gone rogue; allegedly high-jacking an uMhlanga businessman at gun-point before robbing him of between R70 000 and R170 000. Even more disturbing is information that the five city Metro police officers who allegedly committed this crime did so using an official Metro police vehicle which they duly signed out at their station’s gate. This vehicle, which has been fitted with a tracking unit, depicts the route they took during the high-jacking and also shows that it was stationary outside of their victim’s place of business.

A separate media report highlighted how Durban Metro police purposely evaded a vehicle from eMkhomazi SAPS that had intercepted them in an attempted to prevent them from dumping homeless city vagrants and whoonga addicts in the South Coast. The occupants in the three Metro vehicles were reportedly seen laughing as they snuck away from the SAPS.

The previous week and early last week, it was reported that Durban Metro police chief Cyril Nzama’s bodyguard Thamsanqa Mbongwa had misplaced his official firearm after totalling yet another city vehicle whilst off duty. Mbongwa has cost city taxpayers almost R1 million in damage costs from cars written off while he was behind the wheel and he had failed to report the misplacement of his official firearm ten days after the fact – resulting in both him and Metro police management being in contravention of the firearms control act.

It is clear that the Durban Metro Police Department is becoming a liability. They are tasked with enforcing municipal by-laws and supplementing the work of the SAPS by aiding them in crime prevention. Instead they are brazenly breaking the law, terrorizing city residents, committing crimes and showing blatant disregard for the SAPS.

There is something seriously wrong with the Durban Metro Police Department and I would like to urge Mchunu to step in speedily as their failure reflects negatively on his department as well.

I will be tabling a motion in this regard at the next sitting of the Community Safety portfolio and if Mchunu is serious about restoring city residents’ faith in the Durban Metro then he will heed the DA’s call.