'Disband metro police now,' Treasury orders Mangaung council
The National Treasury has ordered the disbandment of the newly established Mangaung Metro Police Services, referencing the municipality's precarious financial and service-delivery performance.
Malijeng Mgqaleni, the Treasury's head of intergovernmental relations, said that the establishment of the police force would worsen the financial situation and undermine the purpose of the approved mandatory financial recovery plan.
“The message is simple: National Treasury does not support the establishment of the Metro Police Service at this stage ...
“Please support your administration to focus on fully implementing the financial recovery plan as is. You are reminded that, should this intervention fail to achieve the set targets, it would need to be escalated to a national intervention in line with the constitution. This will have severe consequences for both the administrative and political arms of the institution,” a letter to the council reads.
Writing to city manager Sello More and others, Mgqaleni said the directive was not negotiable.
“This letter serves to again employ you as the accounting officer of the metro to supply National Treasury with all memorandums and reports that served at the council which were the basis for the decision to establish the metro police. It is also critical that the said documents include the decision-making process of how the councillors of the metros voted on this item (all decisions).”
This would help the Treasury know who was directly responsible for the decision and who was liable for the expenditure incurred by the metro, the letter said. If the auditor-general found the spending to have been fruitless and wasteful, a recovery process would be implemented.
“You are hereby advised to take the necessary steps to advise council to rescind this ill-advised decision as soon as practically possible and to timeously advise the National Treasury of the position of the metro within the next 14 days,” said Mgqaleni.
Mangaung spokesperson Qondile Khedama said every metro had a mandate to establish a metro police force.
“There are no additional costs incurred in the establishment of the metro police because law-enforcement and traffic exist in the public safety department. As the city we don’t want to undermine the Treasury. We will have a conversation with Cogta, which will further advise on the administration of Mangaung.
“The timing (of the establishment of a police force) might be wrong but there can’t be a gap in law enforcement. The safety of citizens is a priority,” Khedama said.
The Treasury, however, said the city had ignored its instructions on many occasions.