Cop cars aplenty for Popcru Indaba

2014-09-17 00:00

AMID critical vehicle shortages, fleets of state-owned cars ferried Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) officials to Durban.

Police, Road Traffic Inspectorate and Correctional Services officials from across the province descended on the city for the union’s provincial conference, many of them in law enforcement vehicles. This against a backdrop of crippling resource ­restrictions that have hit stations throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that shop stewards within police ranks were provided with marked police cars.

“Only full-time shop stewards are provided with vehicles for official duties as per our national guidelines,” he said.

Naicker added that other union officials would have had to negotiate with their station commanders to use police cars.

Naicker would not comment on whether this had exacerbated an existing shortage of vehicles for police to respond to emergencies.

Last month The Witness exposed the fact that the policing district of Mid-Illovo, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, had only one functional police car.

The special report highlighted that vehicle shortages had forced officers from two stations that preside over a mountainous precinct spanning hundreds of kilometres, to share the lone ­vehicle.

The Mercury reported yesterday that Durban’s Greenwood Park police station was facing a crisis of poor morale because of vehicle shortages.

According to the paper, one of the most serious problems facing the station is 23 vehicles out of action, some of which had been sent for repairs.

Popcru provincial secretary Kwenza Nxele said the meeting was necessary.

“We established this symposium for our members to address critical issues pertaining to service delivery across the province. These ­issues include the rising trend of absenteeism among our officers, as well as police spousal killings and the abuse of their firearms,” he said.

Nxele said they had asked police management to make vehicles available. “We went to the employer and asked for shopstewards to be allowed to use cars because these are important issues that affect the everyday running of the force. By dealing this with we get more officers to work. Rather take them away for a day and then address the burning issues in the long term,” Nxele said.

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