Pietermaritzburg - “The police are in the bush, doing whatever they like.”.
This is according to Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) provincial secretary Nthabeleng Molefe who, with hundreds of her union members, flooded Pietermaritzburg’s streets in a march for better treatment of law enforcement personnel yesterday.
The march, which saw employees gathering from across the province, was done in solidarity with scheduled demonstrations across the country as a build-up to the union’s national march in Pretoria later this month.
The union is demanding that changes be implemented within the Department of Correctional Services, the South African Police Service, the Department of Community Safety and the Department of Transport, which employs traffic officers across the province.
“They [government] must implement our demands because it will benefit our members and benefit the community at large,” Molefe said.
• On the SA Police Service:
Molefe described police management as “doing whatever they like” by making decisions without consulting the union.
Besides issues around salary upgrades, the safety of officers and racism in the police, Molefe emphasised the union’s plea to have police cluster offices abolished.
Cluster offices act as regional management for stations grouped in one area and fill the gap between managers at station and provincial levels.
“Police management say they are going back to basics but they are removing officers from stations and putting them in the clusters.”
This results in slack service delivery, she said. “Clusters are like the post office. They do not have any power and just relay information from station to province where actual decisions are made. It is a waste of manpower that is needed to combat crime in the communities.”
• On the Department of Correctional Services:
Molefe highlighted various issues plaguing prison employees in the country. She said there is discrimination when it comes to promotions and that the Occupational Specific Dispensation agreed upon in 2009 had not yet been implemented.
“There is also the issue of overtime. In the previous shift system, employees would work five days in the week and weekends would be overtime. Overtime has not been paid since 2009,” Molefe said.
• On Traffic:
At the top of the list is the nationalisation of traffic departments.
Molefe explained that traffic enforcement in different provinces falls under different departments.
For example, she said in KZN, traffic enforcement falls under the Department of Transport; in the Free State under the Department of Community Safety; and in Mpumalanga under the Department of Agriculture.
“There is no synergy between all provincial traffic departments and nationalisation of traffic is going at a slow pace. When traffic departments are nationalised, they will fall under the command of the national police commissioner,” Molefe said.