JOHANNESBURG – The recently announced reshuffle of two department heads in the JMPD has sent shockwaves through those in the know who look at the redeployments and have to question how a decision like this could possibly have been taken.

With effect from Monday 21 February 2011, Director David Tembe, former Director of Operations is to be moved to the post of head of the JMPD Training Academy whilst Joyce Maribe, whom he is replacing has been moved into his post.

According to Eyewitness News “…a senior source in the department said the reshuffle was not unusual and was performance-based.” It was also added that “The JMPD’s Edna Mamonyane said the change has nothing to do with personalities” and “the chief of police decides to move anybody internally because he doesn’t want people to be sitting at one place and being comfortable”. “He (Ngcobo) wants to be changing people around.”

With all due respect to the Chief, JPSA cannot see how this reshuffle had anything whatsoever to do with “performance” and/or people “becoming too comfortable” with anything, when the Director of Licencing Prosecutions and Courts, CCTV and Electronic Enforcement, Director Gerrie Gerneke has also held his post since the JMPD’s formation in 2006.

It is our standpoint that this reshuffle has absolutely everything to do with personalities and it is no secret that Mr Ngcobo and Director Tembe often do not see eye to eye whilst Director Gerneke and Mr Ngcobo are virtually joined at the hip.

As far as performance goes, it is unarguable that Director Gerneke’s department is the single largest cash-generating department in the JMPD, outperforming all others by a long huge multiples. However if anyone has “become too comfortable” in their position, it has got to be Director Gerneke, who has since June 2010 flagrantly violated provisions of the AARTO Act in an open and unlawful manner to increase the revenue that the JMPD derives from camera speeding fines.

But let us focus on the reshuffle of Director Tembe and Joyce Maribe and talk for a moment about the qualifications each holds to do the job.

Director Tembe started his career with the Municipality in the emergency services department and worked his way through the ranks before taking up his post at the JMPD. He additionally completed training and qualified as a traffic officer prior to donning a uniform.

Mr Chris Ngcobo

Neither Joyce Maribe nor Chris Ngcobo have done similar and worse yet neither holds an infrastructure number in the JMPD as is required by the Criminal Procedure Act for them to act as traffic (or peace) officers.

JPSA has recently learned that whilst Ms Maribe may indeed have held an SAPS force number when she was employed by the SAPS, she is not a qualified peace officer. The same goes for Mr Ngcobo, with the minor difference that he is not even a former SAPS officer. Even though it is hard to imagine that either post would see that person writing out a traffic ticket, each of them do command people whose jobs entails that and more. Additionally, neither of them is empowered to effect an arrest in any other capacity than that of a civilian.

It has recently emerged that the JMPD has not been in possession of AARTO 01 infringement notice books with which to issue citations for moving violations and other traffic infringements for some three months now. Whilst physical enforcement issues do indeed fall within the scope of the Director of Operations for the JMPD, it must be borne in mind that the ultimate decision and/or actual processing of orders for these books lies with the Chief and/or the City of Johannesburg and/or the RTMC, all of whom entered into a childish squabble on public television with respect to who is going to pay for these books.

In real terms, the lack of AARTO 01 infringement notice books means that, apart from parking tickets, only camera based infringement notices and physical arrests for serious road traffic offences as are defined in the AARTO Act and Regulations have been and are possible at this stage.

Obviously, when one takes into account that the operations department cannot possibly generate revenue for the JMPD and the City of Johannesburg since it has no means to do so, it is quite easy to see how performance from a financial perspective can be affected. The camera fines department – or electronic enforcement department as it is referred to does not have a similar problem since it generates its fines electronically and is not reliant on physical books on which to “write up” offending motorists.

Since the JMPD’s primary motivation seems to be the generation of tens of millions of Rands of revenue in traffic fines for the City on a monthly basis it is hardly surprising that camera fines, which now constitute close to, if not 100% of the JMPD’s income would be seen as “out-performing” physical enforcement.

If the performance measure of departments within the JMPD remains that of income, then there can be no doubt that camera fines will always come out trumps. Regardless of how many physical law enforcement exercises are mounted, a single mobile speed camera which can clock up scores of infringements in a single minute and will always out-perform a traffic officer who has to spot and stop an offending motorist; and then take five or more minutes to write out an infringement notice.

But as if this were not enough, the decision to cease complying with the legislation that demands that all camera fines issued under AARTO be served via registered mail was taken by the head of the electronic enforcement division in June 2010 and to date, despite this practice being publicly acknowledged as being unlawful by the acting registrar of the RTIA, Mr Japh Chuwe, the practice has continued.

To make matters even worse, the very same Director who made that decision also decided and enacted that fines issued to holders of foreign driving licences be tripled, once again in flagrant violation of the AARTO Act and Regulations. Tripling of fine values is catered for in the AARTO Regulations with respect to the avoidance of incursion of demerit points for juristic persons (companies, trusts, etc.) however the demerit points system has not been proclaimed as being in force yet and the TMPD is not doing similar.

There is however no provision whatsoever for the tripling of fine values for holders of foreign driving licences in the Act or Regulations and this has been confirmed by Mr Basil Nkhwashu, Senior Executive Manager at the RTMC. Despite this fact, Director Gerneke has categorically stated that the JMPD will continue to fine holders of foreign driving licences and/or identity documents at tripled fine values once again making traffic law up as he goes along.

The RTMC seems to be either powerless or completely lacking any will to halt any of this and Director Gerneke has continued to thumb his nose at JPSA and the RTMC, seemingly with the blessing of Chief Chris Ngcobo.

JPSA is entering into litigation against the JMPD and all other role players in this debacle for the extreme prejudice to both the public who have been affected by it and law enforcement as a whole, caused by the unlawful actions of the JMPD under AARTO and will be seeking interdict against them in the very near future. This comes after all “diplomatic efforts” to reach resolution and get the JMPD revert to what is lawful have failed.

We wish Director Tembe Godspeed in his new role and, despite our not understanding the motivation behind the reshuffle, we do feel that his leadership at the Academy will have a positive influence on the quality of new recruits passing out from the Academy in the future.