Mathabathe lashes out at former municipal bosses, saying she did nothing wrong
Former metro police chief Pinkie Mathabathe is fighting back. Speaking out six months after she was fired, Mathabathe is lashing out at her former bosses at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality whom she claims set her up for failure by not giving her a budget to do her job.
She faced a barrage of insults and criticism for two years as political parties and municipal unions questioned why she was being paid more than R1-million a year when no metro police force had yet been established.
In an interview last week, Mathabathe said her attempts to get the metro leadership and council to allocate a budget were constantly shot down.
Her failure to establish the force was one of three charges lodged against her, ultimately leading to her being fired.
She was also charged in April with failing to disclose a second income from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
She said she had signed the required disclosure form in 2014 and it only asked for staff to declare if they or their spouse benefited from municipal contracts.
She turned to the Johannesburg Labour Court, but lost the case. She has been granted leave to appeal.
Mathabathe will be fighting what she believes was a witchhunt because she told former mayor Danny Jordaan that the metro police could not be established in March as there was no money. “The only money that was in my budget was my salary. Maybe they wanted me to use my salary to implement the metro police.
“If that is the case, they should have told me and I would have set aside R10 000 of my salary every month,” Mathabathe quipped.
In the three months that she had been in charge of the safety and security department, she had transferred money from other budgets to get together about R1.5-million.
She had hoped to use that money to buy uniforms for the force, but was kicked out of the municipality before she could do it.
Mathabathe believes that her relationship with her employer turned sour when she started questioning why she had never signed a performance agreement.
She said the absence of such an agreement meant she had lost out on two bonuses.
Also, in a mayoral committee meeting in February, she squared off with Jordaan.
“He said he wanted the metro police in March and I said, ‘Mayor, we don’t have the money.’
“He said, ‘You are not going to tell me when we are going to launch.’ He shouted at me to be quiet when I tried to explain that there was no budget.”
Mathabathe said officials at the meeting had kept quiet.
Days later, Mathabathe had a panic attack and collapsed.
After being on leave for a month, she said she was given a paper with the list of charges by acting city boss Johann Mettler on her first day back.
“He [Mettler] asked me about my health . . . and then he said, ‘Let’s bargain – either we proceed with an inquiry against you, or resign.’
“I said, ‘Let’s proceed with the inquiry.’ If there are shortfalls on the form, it is not my fault.”
Mathabathe said she had spent the two years developing a business plan, designing insignia, and drawing up festive season and election plans, among other things.
“I just want to make it clear that I’ve done nothing wrong. I did perform in my job,” she said.
Asked if she had been shortlisted for the chief director post at the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Mathabathe said she had, but she had not yet been interviewed.
Mettler did not want to respond to Mathabathe’s claims.
“All the matters raised by her were extensively dealt with during those court cases and she was dismissed by both independent tribunals. The facts speak for themselves,” Mettler said.
Jordaan sent the same response as Mettler.