Over a thousand Joburg Metro Police who graduated in November 2019 claim they are being used as a political football.

In March 2020, the City of Johannesburg announced that it will be sending back the 1 500 officers who had just graduated back to school, citing that most of them were unable to direct traffic or handle firearms.

However, the officers are accusing Joburg Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety Mally Mokoena of victimising them since they were hired during Former Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s DA-led administration.

Last week, the officers staged a peaceful demonstration at the JMPD Academy after they were ordered not to wear their service uniform. 

One of the officers, who chose to remain anonymous, says there’s no way all 1 500 new officers could be incompetent.

“I think the problem is that the project was under Herman Mashaba and the former Mayor was under DA and when Mashaba resigned the ANC took over and that’s where things went wrong. Now the ANC Mayor and the MMC are trying to show that the DA did not do their job.”

The officer says if the City was fair, they would deal with the incompetent officers only.

“Something doesn’t add up. I mean if there are people with the problems that they are alleging how come they are not dealing with them individually. This is pure politics and it’s a pity we are dragged in. We just want to work for our families and serve our country.”

SABC News made an attempt to secure an interview with Joburg Community Safety MMC Mally Mokoena, but her office referred all queries to Joburg Metro Police Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar. 

Minnaar says JMPD has processes to be followed if there’s a grievance.

“These young officers are not following proper procedure. If they have a grievance, they must follow a grievance procedure. They register with the head of academy. But they did it wrong. They went to speak on radio and discredited The JMPD Academy. They also discredited the MMC. They may not talk on public radio in terms of police ethics.”

Minaar says this has nothing to do with politics but a report by the Road Traffic Management Cooperation (RTMC).

“What has happened with the past group, but the RTMC in their observation and monitoring, saw clearly that these young trainees can’t direct Traffic properly. Their positions were wrong and the signs they gave were wrong so it shows that they were not properly trained in the academy,” he says.

It is not yet clear when these officers are going to be cleared to go back to their duties.

The trainees had graduated two days before former Mayor Herman Mashaba stepped down in November 2019.

Tensions between them and the Joburg authorities have been boiling for at least four months now.