All SAPS services are essential - police

2011-06-07 20:07

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hand down judgement on Thursday in a case between the police and its union Popcru over which employees are essential, and thus not allowed to strike.

The police want a Labour Appeal Court (LAC) judgement set aside and replaced with an order declaring all SA Police Service (SAPS) employees to be engaged in an essential service.

The LAC previously ruled that SAPS workers employed under the Public Service Act (PSA), such as administrative workers, do not render an essential service.

They do not fall under the SA Police Service Act and can thus strike.

The SAPS however contends that if "certain links in the chain are missing", its mandate to prevent and control crime will not be executed.

"They argue that PSA employees perform an essential service in the Saps and should therefore also be prohibited from striking," the Constitutional Court said in a summary of the matter.

Popcru submits "the services carried out by non-member employees are not essential, and their right to strike under Section 23 of the Constitution should not be limited in any way".

The issue dates back to the 2007 public service strike, when Popcru leaders called on all police employees to strike.

The Saps brought an urgent application to interdict Popcru members from striking, saying even support functions were essential.

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