Pinkie gets the salute as metro’s chief cop

Mkhululi Ndamase

NELSON Mandela Bay’s new metro police chief, Pinkie Mathabathe, will report for duty next month.

Mayor Ben Fihla is expected to make the announcement at tomorrow’s council meeting.

Mathabathe, 49, confirmed that she had got the job. “I received the letter of appointment [and I am] starting on February 1,” she said this week.

She would not comment further.

Mathabathe beat Humewood police station commander Brigadier Ronald Koll, who was one of five candidates considered for the job.

Her biggest task will be to establish a 900-member force which city bosses plan to form from the merger of the traffic and security departments.

The DA has previously questioned how the post would be funded as it did not appear on the organisational structure and was not budgeted for.

But in a letter to the DA, city manager Mpilo Mbambisa indicated previously that the metro would use the budget for the director of safety and security position, with a R1-million annual salary, which was vacant.

Mathabathe will from next week head a team of municipal and union officials on a fact-finding trip to gather information on how the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni operate their metro police forces.

She was previously a senior director in the Tshwane metro police. In 2010, Mathabathe acted as Tshwane’s interim chief for community safety.

She was in the running for the Tshwane strategic director of the community safety department against controversial former Ekurhuleni metro police head Robert McBride that year, but did not get the job.

She has also been Tshwane’s deputy chief of the metro police’s internal and civilian affairs.

Even with that experience, Mathabathe faces the tough challenge of merging the security department with a troubled traffic department.

The establishment of the force has already been delayed for almost five years because of funding shortages, red tape and bickering between senior municipal officials and former metro police chief Trish Armstrong.

The council approved the establishment of the force in 2009 and Safety and Security MEC Helen Sauls-August signed it off in January 2012.