Following the gross insubordination by the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) at last week’s State of the Capital Address (SoCA), Executive Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga, in consultation with Tshwane’s city manager, immediately and formally withdrew the subdelegation of the Tshwane police chief’s powers and functions.
This effectively means chief of the TMPD Steven Ngobeni has since last week Thursday been barred from discharging his functions as police chief because of his alleged failure to act. Those powers have at April 7, 2017, been reinstated until such time that the mayor and the city manager decide on the way forward for the management of local law enforcement.
This comes after his failure to act after being given lawful instructions to eject the disruptive ANC councillors from the chamber during a special sitting of council scheduled for the delivery of the SoCA.
Mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi said: “This, in effect, appears to have made him complicit in the corrosion and excavation of the constitutional principles that govern a democratically elected council.
“In dereliction of his duty to act, Ngobeni also undermined the will of the people of Tshwane who had every right to hear the plans the DA-led administration had to deliver better services to them.
“Ngobeni is duty-bound to uphold the law by restoring order to Council as he vowed to do. However, after events yesterday, it would appear that he failed to do so.
“One can only deduce from this abandoning of his constitutional duties that his instructions come from elsewhere and that he was likely ‘acting’ at the behest of his handlers at Luthuli House.
“This is a deeply concerning trend that we have noticed, and we will not tolerate administrative functionaries of the capital abusing their power to further narrow party political ends at the expense of the rule of law, which requires that law enforcement act in the public interest free from fear, favour or prejudice,” the mayor said.
He added that the dubious conduct was later evidenced in the confusion created by an official within local law enforcement, in consultation with the SAPS, in their ill-conceived decision to deny a protest that he himself and the MMC of community gave their blessing to go ahead.
“This blessing was given in the public interest and in celebration of the peoples’ constitutional right to protest.
“As such, it would appear that poor decision-making and party political antics are rife within the police service from the very top.”
Msimanga said this march had always had the support of the DA-led administration in the capital and they fully supported the constitutional right for South Africans to protest in a manner that was commensurate with the law, as was the case with Friday’s mass protest action that took place in the capital by national opposition parties and civil society.
“Accordingly, the SAPS and the TMPD have a constitutional duty under Section 205 of the Gatherings Act to provide the necessary resources to make sure the march poses no risk to life and limb.
“It is must be made clear that there are many men and women in uniform who discharge their duty without fear, favour or prejudice and for that we thank them. It is those who seek to play politics instead of keeping our people safe who will face swift and appropriate action in due course,” the mayor stated.