SAVE OUR CITY: Former Metro Police chief David Tembe tells Everson Luhanga how a R45 million facility for impounded vehicles was scrapped because cops were scared of criminals in the area.
In 2019 David Tembe, then Metro Police chief, spearheaded a R45 million project to build a pound to keep thousands of vehicles.
The pound never opened, and the R45 million was lost.
Tembe tells Scrolla.Africa that the city needed to build a new pound because the existing one at Walmer Street was full and slowly falling into a giant sinkhole.
Criminals regularly stripped impounded car parts at the other pound in Dube, Soweto, so that was no good either.
Tembe said that after he presented the business case to the Mayoral Committee, the budget of R40 million was approved. The legislature also approved it.
The Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) bought a site in the industrial area of Cleveland — formerly a factory where Nampak manufactured labels — where they could house the impounded vehicles.
The department had to spend another R5 million to protect the site which was being stripped by criminals.
“We were supposed to put officers in to guard it day and night, build a big wall around the building, and install cameras,” he said.
The new pound could accommodate 22,000 vehicles impounded from national and provincial traffic police, SAPS and the JMPD. The revenue was to benefit the city.
The pound was to be for vehicles found flouting the law, including for:
- illegal parking
- illegal taxi ranks
- illegal cross-border buses rank
- inconsiderate driving
- reckless and negligent driving
- traffic congestion
“The place was intact and it was ready to start receiving impounded vehicles,” he said.
Before that could happen, Tembe was asked to leave his post as Metro Police chief in April 2020.
He became a councillor for ActionSA and was appointed MMC for Public Safety in 2021.
But then Mpho Phalatse was ousted as mayor in a DA-led coalition government and her MMCs, including Tembe, lost their jobs — and their projects were put on hold.
Scrolla.Africa received no official explanation as to why the pound was never opened.
But unofficial sources said the police were not happy to be relocated so close to the Denver/Cleveland hostels where there were gun battles on many nights.
“The police were afraid to move to this place because they were afraid of criminals in this area,” said one source.
Speaking to Scrolla.Africa, Michael Sun, who was an MMC when the initial R40 million was approved, confirmed that the money was indeed given to the department.
Sun said it is devastating to see the taxpayer’s money being wasted and unaccounted for.
Pictured above: David Tembe shares more tales of woe about lost funds and facilities in Joburg
Photo source: Everson Luhanga