The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) supports the upcoming COSATU socio-economic national strike set to take place tomorrow, the 7th of October 2021, which will be taking place under strict Covid-19 restrictions as part of the Global Day for Decent Work activities.
POPCRU encourages its members who will be off-duty to join in these actions at their respective provinces.
It is reported that by July 2021, just over three million South Africans have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, while of those who managed to keep their jobs, 1,5 million did not have an income, and with women bearing the brunt of these job losses.
With more than 200 million jobs lost to the pandemic globally, and another 100 million still at risk and large numbers of the unemployed, the vast majority being women, this upcoming COSATU National Day of Action provides an opportune moment for workers and the general public to voice out their dissatisfactions on various issues, including the reversal of budget cuts that led to an unacceptable wage freeze in the public service.
Our Criminal Justice Cluster (CJC) has also suffered under the circumstances, and we share the sentiments that if there is no change in the country’s economic policy direction, the already deteriorating standards of living of working people will be worsened, and with this steep decline, the work of reducing and fighting crime will likely bear no fruit.
Many of our members within the CJC continue to be faced by numerous, long standing challenges that have been ignored over the years, and despite our successes in certain areas, a lot still needs to be done in improving their conditions, and the actions to be taken tomorrow are but part of the reflections on broader challenges intrinsically linked to our specific departmental challenges.
The public sector workers have been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 and their dedication, good work and bravery is clearly not appreciated by government. The national treasury has also leading an onslaught against workers by trying to erode their hard-won rights and suppress their wages.
We are wary of the government’s attempts to undermine collective bargaining, as the failure to honour signed agreements is a declaration of war.
Government’s decision to undermine its own laws and ignore its own obligations will lead to chaos. In an environment with no rules, chaos reigns, and all gains will be eroded.
With high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths within the CJC, the pandemic has brought to the open the reality that our members, who continue to be in the frontline, continue to face unfair and unjust working conditions in the face of their indifferent superiors who have not taken to cognisance their safety measures while conducting their duties.
Police and traffic officers are killed almost on a daily basis, with the randomness of their targeting increasing members’ feelings of unsafety and insecurity. It is clear fact that police officers are being singled out as targets for attack irrespective of being in or out of uniform. There must be improved efforts to better understand why police officers continue to be killed in South Africa, as well as to formulate and recommend preventative, interventionist and protective strategies and measures to reduce the number of officers being killed yearly, and for this purpose, we call for an urgent sitting of a Policing Indaba, with the aim of finding amicable solutions to this persistent crisis.
We call for the review and increase on service allowances for SAPS Act members, and an introduction of the danger allowance for the Public Service Act employees and SAPS Act members. The current allowance, which has been stagnant at R400 since 2001 has been insufficient and ineffective, considering the increased levels of danger officers face daily.
We call for unity and cooperation in the unfolding process of restructuring the SAPS. The current top-heavy organisational structure which has demonstrated to result in unnecessary use of taxpayers’ monies while there remain challenges at station levels, ranging from under-resourced police stations and staff shortages, if not speedily changed, will continue to undermine police efforts in decisively dealing with criminal activity.
The SAPS’s organisational structure is riddled with contradictory sub-structures that have created amongst others, the duplication of functions on top, and the paralysis of efficient policing operations at grass-root level, and this should be addressed.
There is a need to define and strengthen co-operation and co-ordination between the national, provincial and local spheres of government in support of their respective road traffic strategic planning, regulation, facilitation and enforcement.
We want to stress that the existence of a promotion policy is very key in the department to foster the advancement of Traffic Officers and it enhances their upward mobility and complements the attainment of the objectives of the department which allow for their personnel development. The non-existence of a Promotion Policy causes unnecessary discontent and unrest by employees.
Within this context, there is an urgent need to address the immediate action plan by the Minister to initiate a process towards the nationalisation of traffic, the development of a promotion policy and the provision of quality and sufficient uniform.
Lastly, we call on the Department of Correctional Services to initiate a process that will ensure it focuses on its core mandate; which is to rehabilitate inmates. Under current conditions, where there is overcrowding and understaffing, the lack of a promotion policy for employees, illegal shift patterns and the dilapidation of most of its infrastructures, its goals are unlikely to me met.
Let us go out in our numbers to support our federation COSATU in demanding an end to corruption, an end to undermining collective bargaining, an end to increasing levels of unemployment, and for the promotion of a people-centred economic growth.
Issued by POPCRU on 06/10/2021
For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349