Pressure group wants Mangaung Metro police to be scrapped

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The Mangaung Service Delivery Forum (MSDF) is threatening to shut down Bloemfontein and surrounding areas, should the cash-strapped Mangaung Metro forge ahead with the launch of its police department, come month-end.

OFM News reports, the chairperson of this pressure group, Potso Motoko, is of the view that the first metro to be placed under administration in the country, is financially not in a good enough standing to be launching a police department dedicated to Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba’ Nchu, Dewetsdorp, Soutpan, and Wepener, on 30 September.

Motoko points out that the metro has had law enforcement stationed within the municipality for years. Yet those officials were not effective in their respective portfolios. He asks “How is the situation now going to change”? He says the South African Police Services (Saps) is capable enough to look after the metro.

Allegations levelled against the metro

The MSDF chairperson alleges the metro has refurbished a section of the Gabriel Dichabe Building, located opposed the Bram Fischer Building, to accommodate the now bigger police department, to the tune of R14 million. The pressure group believes the money could have been assigned to correct service delivery challenges. The metro is yet to comment on this.

Recruitment of officers

Furthermore, the MSDF, has cast questions around the recruitment process for the metro police department, demanding greater transparency on the issue. In April 2021, OFM News reported that the organisational design or organogram for the Mangaung Metro Police Department had been approved by the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Sam Mashinini. The approval came after the structure, as is, was presented to the workplace restructuring sub-committee and taken to the local labour forum thereafter.

The design – a copy of which was leaked to the media – categorises the different parts of the Mangaung Metro into three regions, where teams of the metro police will be deployed. The Bloemfontein and Soutpan areas fall under the central region, which is also where the vast majority of the department will be based and operate from. Thaba’ Nchu and Botshabelo fall under the Eastern region, whereas Dewetsdorp, Wepener, and Vanstadensrus fall under the Southern Region.

Meanwhile, Mangaung Metro has sent out invites for the much-anticipated launch, which is to be held at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein in a week’s time. Residents of the provincial capital city report seeing some of the officials clad in their uniforms taking part in drill exercises in the lead-up to the launch. This development comes after the acting Municipal Manager (MM) of Mangaung, Sello More, promised accountability and immediate action on issues raised by residents.

OFM News/Olebogeng Motse