Cops may ‘stay away’ today

2012-10-15 00:00

POLICE officers across the country may make good on threats to effect a three-hour stayaway today.

The threat will see officers effectively “downing tools” from 9 am until noon.

The action comes in the wake of major police disgruntlement after a murder docket was opened when a gunman was killed in an exchange of fire with police in New Germany last week.

A policeman was killed and another was badly wounded in the shootout.

Rumours of the arrest of the police officer who shot the suspect resulted in large-scale discontent and prompted the organising of the stayaway on social networking site Facebook.

A statement issued by police spokesperson Jay Naicker said that KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni would meet with Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) management and police unions today.

“We want to assure our members that we are indeed concerned with their welfare and we will be engaging with IPID management to look at ways in which we can improve the relationship between IPID and SAPS members.”

“After that meeting, we will be giving our members feedback as to the resolutions taken by all stakeholders,” Naicker said.

A police officer, who refused to be named, said that it was unclear whether or not the three-hour strike would go ahead.

“I have heard rumblings about the strike and guys have been talking about it, but I honestly don’t think anything will materialise,” he said.

“I think there was a lot of anger directed at IPID, but I don’t think the strike or go-slow is even going to happen. The police are angry because when a suspect is killed an inquest docket is opened. On Friday, they opened a murder docket and that is why everyone is irate,” another police officer who requested anonymity said.

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini rubbished claims that the officer had been arrested and detained. “If that officer was detained, it was certainly not by IPID. The criticism of the IPID with regard to this incident is completely baseless,” Dlamini said.

In a statement issued on Monday, Dlamini had launched a scathing rebuttal of allegations made by a Sunday newspaper that the officer had been charged with the murder of the armed robber. The statement said that the article was “riddled with inaccuracies” and had been an effort to stir emotions and tarnish the image of IPID.

The DA police spokesperson, Diana Kohler Barnard, told The Witness that she does not blame their anger and is sympathetic, but cautioned them because if they down tools, they would face dismissal. It is against the law for the police to strike.

KZN Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson, Kwenza Nxele said the talks that police are going to protest remains a rumour.

“But if they do, our members are not part of it. In history no police have ever protested,” he added.

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