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City of Cape Town dismisses 93 metro cops

by Luyanda Makapela
on 16 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The City of Cape Town has officially dismissed 93 metro police officers following various charges including taking part in an unlawful strike last year.

Their services have been terminated with immediate effect.

Handing down the judgement at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Monday, Disciplinary Tribunal Chairperson Beresford Williams said the employees had acted in contravention of the collective agreement that applied to the employers and employees.

"Under the collective agreement, the employees are prohibited from embarking on strike.

"The employees are metro police employees and, under their terms and conditions of employment, are required to enforce the law," said Mr Williams.

A statement released by the municipality explained that the members took part in an illegal strike on 15 August 2007, despite being an essential service. They blockaded the N2 Highway and in so doing did not use peaceful means to air their grievances.

Six of the metro police were found not guilty due to a lack of evidence.

In his judgement, Mr Williams said blockading the N2 Highway was a contravention of the Labour Relations Act and the member's gathering at the Cape Town Civic Centre was a contravention of the Gatherings Act.

"The established facts show that as a result of deliberate and concerted action of metro police, the ordinary flow of traffic along the N2 Highway was indeed disrupted to maximum effect.

"Therefore, the employees have abused their position as metro police employees and have flagrantly violated the trust that the employer had in them," said Mr Williams in the summary of his judgement.

Cape Town City Manager Achmat Ibrahim said the ruling maintained the city in viewing strike and disruption in a "very" serious light.

"This has been a long and painful process, but it was necessary to provide clarity not only for the City of Cape Town, but rather to other municipalities in throughout the country," said Mr Ibrahim.

Monday's ruling follows an earlier disciplinary process in 2007 agreed with trade union Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU).

In terms of the process, 15 metro police officers agreed to a pre-dismissal arbitration with external labour experts chairing the initial processes.

Of the 15 officers, three were found not guilty, five dismissed and four were given a final written warning and one month unpaid suspension.

The other three officers were given a final written warning (for 12 months) and two months unpaid suspension, the city said.

According to the municipality, those officers whose disciplinary hearings ended on Monday were part of a group that lodged a successful application in the Labour Court. The city has a pending appeal against the ruling. - BuaNews


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