Returning home from the official launch of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police force on Friday 13 May 2016 I remarked to the Longhair that our Executive Mayor Danny Jordaan had committed suicide at the post event press conference.
Visibly shocked the Longhair asked for clarity as she thought it had been in the literal sense and not as I had meant – ‘political suicide’.
The envisaged showcase launch of the Bay’s Metro Police force was marred by disgruntled Traffic Officials who claimed that the launch was just a smokescreen and political stunt to gain votes. Traffic Officer and SAMWU official Libhoyo Nangu says that he has been told that only 205 current officers qualify for status as Metro Policemen whilst 300 odd do not qualify for acceptance. Nangu says that his concerns are for the 300 odd who do not qualify and wants clarity on what will happen to those.
The protesters gathered outside of the fenced barricade, below the Lilian Ngoyi building, waited until Mayor Jordaan began his address to begin their singing and blaring of sirens from official vehicles.
It did not take long for all the assembled media to leave the official launch area to get the story from the ‘other side’. This must have irked the launch officials and Mayor Jordaan quite a bit as he continued to address the now much depleted barricaded area in front of City Hall.
After the excitement calmed down the disgruntled Traffic Officials showed the ‘middle finger’ to ratepayers by wheel spinning off to their next meal in official vehicles – this time without the aid of sirens as the wires to them had been cut by the police to stop the noise.
Then we were off to the official media conference at Jenny’s Room in the City Hall.
Predictably all the questions from media were around the SAMWU disruption and the stop-start implementation of the Metro Police since 2009 – not the soft questions that could have been expected if the proceedings had not been so interrupted.
In the second round of questions Mayor Jordaan chose to go on a spanking of all media saying that they were negative and only focussing on bad things, that the foreign media had said that SA media were not loyal to their country, that media judged people of colour too harshly and always asked for the other side if white people were accused of anything bad, that the media did not highlight that the NMB had R2 billion in the bank, that the media failed to highlight any good initiatives at all, that he was an activist that had fought for the freedom of the press and that same press were now being unfair and on and on.
Confession time – I sat in the front and willed Danny to look me in the eyes to read my silent message which was; “Please stop now Danny – you are committing political suicide here by openly biting the media. They, just like you, have a job to do – one of which is to sell and if it bleeds it leads!”
Tellingly after the press conference I was approached by a police official who said that he knew why I had asked; “When and where will the first roadblock mounted by the Metro Police be?” According to him it was a loaded question calculated to show up that the Metro Police did not know what they were doing and had no plan.
The Metro Police are setting up pilot stations in Helenvale and Kwanobuhle – within two of the most hotly contested wards in the metro. Another conspiracy theorist pointed out to me that this was proof of the ‘smokescreen’.
As I said before; “To launch anything on Friday the 13th is sure to not go well.”
Let’s hope that my dire predictions of political suicide come to naught. Our friend Danny is really doing a lot of hard ground work and is one that really seems to care about our fair city. He, along with only one other mayor since 2004, is one that I am prepared to cut some slack for in recognition of a really tough job he has to do.
Related: Newly launched Bay Metro Police to hit the ground running | Metro Police launch exposed as another Danny Jordaan broken promise and lie | This weeks Launch of Metro Police Force: We are NOT a suspicious bunch
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