Lack of funds will see only 50 applicants appointed in Bay
The thousands of hopefuls from around the country who applied for the 500 metro police vacancies in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are in for a disappointment as only about 50 are expected to be hired this year.
This is due to major budget constraints as the city has less than 10% of the money needed to be able to have a fully-fledged metro police service.
To fill the 515 vacancies that were advertised in June, the municipality needs R260-million.
Only R20-million was allocated for the current financial year.
This was revealed at a safety and security portfolio committee meeting yesterday by the political head of the department, councillor John Best.
He said the municipality had been flooded with applications, “causing mayhem in the country” as the salary grades for the advertised posts were higher than those of other metropolitan municipalities.
The municipality’s acting executive director of corporate services, Vuyo Zitumane, told The Herald that only 50 officers would be hired at this stage.
Asked why the municipality had advertised 515 posts if there was not enough money available to appoint them, Zitumane said: “They were advertised on the basis that sufficient budget would be sourced in this new financial year.
“Besides, even if we advertised that number, we are not compelled to appoint .
“As the budget allows, that figure  will increase and we will draw from the same pool of applications.”
Last month, mayor Athol Trollip said only 14 of the 78 people appointed to act as metro police officers at the project launch in May were qualified for the position.
The rest either did not have a matric, a driver’s licence, traffic and metro police diplomas or they were older than 35. Some had criminal records. The number of those who now qualify has jumped to close to 40 as they have undergone the law enforcement courses. Many are still being vetted. Safety and security executive director Linda Mti has also written several letters to the police commissioner asking for permission to waive the age requirement.
He said other applications for pardons from the commissioner were for those who did not have a matric but had years of experience in either the traffic or security fields.
Best said the municipality had, in the past, hoped to amalgamate the traffic and security departments to form the metro force, but this was not in line with the law.
He said current traffic and security staff would get first preference to apply for posts in the force.
The successful applicants’ positions would then not be filled in the traffic and security divisions.
“The traffic and licensing function will still continue,” Best said.
He said the municipality would implement the metro police service through a phased-in, scaleddown approach until it finally had a fully-fledged force.
ANC councillor Andile Mfunda said they would support the process as long as it moved in the right direction.
EFF councillor Lukhanyo Mrara said he hoped the metro would consider staff older than 35.