Union fights for deceased cop’s promotion

2010-11-16 14:06

A policeman’s battle to be promoted would continue in the Labour Court in Johannesburg tomorrow, even though he died in a helicopter crash earlier this year, trade union Solidarity said today.

“Nearly four months after [Tinus] Gouws and six other police members were killed in a helicopter accident and national police chief General Bheki Cele made promises about protecting the families of the deceased, the SAPS is trying to prevent justice from prevailing,” said Solidarity spokesperson Dirk Hermann.

The union is representing Gouws and seven other police members in an affirmative action case.

“Gouws, who had been employed by the SAPS for over 20 years, was not promoted from inspector to captain due to the implementation of affirmative action, even though he was the best candidate for promotion,” said Hermann.

Gouws and four other policemen, a police pilot and a crew member were killed when their helicopter plunged to the ground before bursting into flames in a field near Verena Road, about 7km outside Witbank, in July.

Hailed as heroes
The policemen, from the national intervention unit, were responding to a robbery at a bakery in Witbank.
They were hailed as heroes at their memorial service.

Cele said at the time: “Their children won’t have the luxury to call on their fathers now. The SAPS must fill that gap. This organisation will be a father to these children and a husband to these widows.”

Solidarity will ask the court to compel the SAPS to finalise the pretrial minutes in the cases of Gouws and seven other police members so that the cases can be placed on the court roll.

The trade union is involved in eight cases on the implementation of affirmative action in the SAPS, which it had consolidated into two groups.

The first group involves the implementation of affirmative action when promoting employees. The second group is about the implementation of affirmative action in reappointing former police members.

Hermann said they had been trying for over a year to finalise the minutes.

“Until the minutes have been signed by both parties, the cases cannot be placed on the roll.

“We get the impression that the state will do everything in its power to frustrate the legal processes. Even if justice could not be done for Gouws, it must still be done for his family.”

Hermann said Gouws’ family could benefit if the court case was decided in Solidarity’s favour.

“If the court ultimately decides that the implementation of affirmative action was unfair, a request can be made for compensation to be paid to Gouws’ estate for the period in which he was not promoted.

“In addition, the promotion will result in an improvement in the pension payout to Gouws’ family.”

Cele’s spokesperson, Nonkululeko Mbatha, was not available for comment.

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