Sick leave costs cops R550m in 2009
Lizel Steenkamp, Beeld
Cape Town - Sick leave has cost the police more than R550m during the past financial year.
According to the police's latest annual report, 112 690 of the police's 190 199 employees (60% of its workforce) took 885 028 days of regular sick leave between January 1 and December 31 last year.
Executive and senior managers took 1 931 days of regular sick leave at an average of six days each, and junior officials and staff took 457 928 days, an average of eight days each.
Furthermore, 72 572 days of sick leave were taken without the necessary doctor's note being submitted.
The police estimate the total cost of lost work hours due to regular sick leave at R387m.
In addition 9 376 employees (5%) were booked off due to serious injuries or psychological reasons for 319 927 days, at an average of 34 days each.
Executive and senior managers were booked off for 335 days at an average of 16 days each.
It is however the employees who are considered "highly skilled" and "highly skilled supervisors" who were worst hit by serious injuries and psychological troubles.
Long sick leave
This group was booked off for 242 398 days at an average of 38 days each.
The cost associated with the loss of manpower due to long sick leave is estimated at an additional R164m.
Beeld reported on Tuesday about the complaints of police officials in Johannesburg, who say it has become more difficult to take sick leave since Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros, former chief of police in the Western Cape, was appointed as Gauteng's new chief of police.
Apparently officials have to show up for work with a doctor's note before they can go home on sick leave, so that officials taking chances can be identified.
Meanwhile it seems the police just can't keep up with civil claims due to negligent behaviour by its officials.
According to the report, the public submitted civil claims of over R2.5bn against the police over the past financial year.
Some of these claims are related to officials' behaviour (R1.7bn), shooting incidents (R236m), assault (R187m) and road accidents (R53m).
Up to R79m was paid to claimants during the same period after court cases were concluded or the parties settled outside of court.
The police also paid R8.7m in salaries to 771 suspended officials while they sat at home.
About 32 officials were suspended for longer than three months.