Tshwane Metro Police (TMPD) chief Steven Ngobeni reached an agreement with Mayor Solly Msimanga to quit his office, following a rocky relationship between the pair.
Their “irretrievable breakdown in relationship” worsened when Ngobeni apparently drove off after being instructed by the mayor to remove disruptive ANC councillors at the State of the Capital address earlier this month.
“This agreement was reached in consultation with the city manager. To avoid further protracting the process, Msimanga, the city manager and Ngobeni agreed that it was in the best interests of the city and the leadership that he depart now to prevent any further damages to our law enforcement agency,” mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi said on Tuesday.
Deputy TMPD chief Jenny Malan would be appointed as acting chief on a month-to-month basis, in accordance with the Municipal Systems Act, until the vacancy is filled.
Her appointment was approved at a special council sitting on Tuesday.
“When there is a change in leadership, there will be changes in the city for the purposes of stabilising the administration and as such, we would like to assure our residents that keeping them and their property safe is still at the apex of our agenda. The departure of the police chief is in the best interests of stabilising the city,” Mgobozi said.
But the ANC felt Ngobeni’s reasons for departure were blurred, stating “irretrievable differences” did not imply a mutual agreement.
“They must tell us in detail what that is,” said Tshwane ANC spokesperson Tebogo Joala.
“They are going around intimidating and getting rid of employees who have served the people, because they stand up against him [Msimanga].
“Ngobeni was not appointed as chief overnight. He served the people for a long time. We and the people of Tshwane want to know.”
The disruptions by the ANC prompted Council Speaker Katlego Mathebe to establish a protection unit, which would assist in ejecting unruly councillors from chambers, as she had limited legal authority to use the police in council proceedings.
Mathebe said the protection unit, called the Council Protection Services, would be under her control and authority.