Police union ends marriage with Saftu to put workers first

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The police union resolved to disaffiliate itself from the federation at its national congress on Wednesday.  Photo: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty
The police union resolved to disaffiliate itself from the federation at its national congress on Wednesday. Photo: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty


The SA Policing Union (Sapu) has divorced the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) because the union believes that the federation no longer carries the aspirations of workers.  

The police union resolved to disaffiliate itself from the federation at its national congress on Wednesday. The congress is taking place at The Ranch Resort in Polokwane, Limpopo, and is set to conclude on Friday. 

Sapu has also withdrawn Thabo Matsose as the second deputy president of Saftu and delegated him to become the president of the union. 

Matsose told City Press: 

As a founding member of the federation, we, of course, have principles such as a new, independent militant worker federation campaign. These principles are also enshrined in the union's constitution. But lately, we have discovered that we are moving farther apart from this constitution.

Matsose explained that the workers' interest no longer prevailed in the federation, which contravened its constitution. The national executive committee looked into the matter and referred it to the congress, which decided it served no use to remain in the federation. 

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Saftu, Trevor Shaku, told City Press that the federation received the notice of disaffiliation from Sapu but was not furnished with reasons for the separation. 

The general secretary of Sapu, Tumelo Mogodiseng, commented that they did not see the federation as the workers' voice. 

“We do not see the federation sending a strong message to government to make sure that it feels our presence. Even on the 3% public servants wage issue, we feel that the federation is not too concerned with workers' issues.” 

READ: Factional battles killing young nurses union

Mogodiseng added that the federation spent too much time in meetings discussing the formation of the workers' political party. 

“Our mandate was clear: we must not belong to any political party when the federation was formed, whether it’s a worker's political party or not. We are a labour movement but now seeing the direction that the federation is taking, of a political party formation, will waste our time.” 

Commissioner says police will take leave during December  

Meanwhile, national police commissioner Fannie Masemola sent a letter to the union on Wednesday, confirming that the police would be allowed to take leave during December.  

In the letter that City Press has seen, Masemola said: “As you are aware that the national safer festive operation has been launched and is currently under way, leave of members of the SA Police Service will be dealt with in terms of the normal prescripts as contained in National Instruction Nine (Absenteeism Management).”   

READ: ‘Tension with Irvin Jim exacerbated Saftu divisions’ – Vavi

This after Police Minister General Bheki Cele remarked that the police would not be allowed to take leave from December 5 until the end of January next year to strengthen law enforcement presence over the festive season that is characterised by high crime rates.  

Responding to Cele’s statement, Sapu sent a letter to Masemola early last month, seeking clarity on whether the commissioner would accede to the declaration by Cele.  

Sapu said:

It will also be appreciated if the minister can be informed that his irresponsible statements are not assisting the morale of the rank-and-file members who are fighting crime in the trenches and not in armoured SUVs.

It further said that for a member who has done his or her annual leave planning in terms of the prescripts only now to hear through a public platform that all leave is “cancelled” does not bode well with the recipients of the announcement. 

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