Cops peeved by Petros's changes
Gloria Edwards, Beeld
Johannesburg - It's more difficult to take sick leave now, their rest days have been decreased and they will be arrested if there is a robbery in their area.
These are some of the complaints from Johannesburg police officials being investigated by the South African Police Union (Sapu).
Alfred Tlou, Sapu's national negotiator, confirmed on Tuesday that they have received allegations of "intolerable conditions" from officials "at various police stations in Johannesburg".
According to the officials, these changes were instituted "unfairly and illegally" after the appointment of the new Gauteng police chief, Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros.
Several senior police officials from the Johannesburg Central police station also complained to Beeld about rest days which have supposedly been decreased unfairly, and a new shift change policy which reportedly leaves officers stranded on the street.
According to Tlou, Sapu held a special meeting about the allegations last week, and the union will soon meet with Petros.
The officials allege they were informed that "if (they) are not satisfied with these changes, (they) should resign."
Bosses will decide
"If we want to take sick leave, we have to go to the office first - even if we have a doctor's note - where the bosses (commanding officers) will decide whether we really are sick.
Apparently the changes to working hours are not in keeping with the labour law and the police's policy regarding working hours.
"We only get two rest days in two weeks," an official said.
Shift changes apparently have to take place on the streets these days. "The officials on duty take over the vehicle, so the officials going off duty have to find their own way to the office or home," said another official.
The officials also allege that they are threatened with arrest if an armed robbery was to take place in the area where they were on duty.
These officials feel Petros - who recently said there is no place for corrupt or lazy police officials - has good intentions.
"It's the station commanders who don't know how to handle his new plans. Now the officials are being unfairly pressured," said a female official.
Meanwhile several police officials from Pretoria have said that Petros's new policies are being misunderstood, reports Hilda Fourie.
"The sick leave issue is actually about the people who are taking chances who need to be better managed. Petros's intention is for shift changes to happen as quickly as possible. During shift changes there are less police officials on the street, and that's when criminals take chances," said a senior police official.
Lungelo Dlamini, provincial police spokesperson, said the allegations are being investigated.