POPCRU on the upcoming National Police Commemoration Day

As the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) welcomes and endorses the upcoming South African Police Service National Commemoration Day set to take place tomorrow, Sunday the 4th of September 2022 at the Union Buildings, we do so with painful hearts in that on that wall of remembrance, names of our former colleagues keep increasing on a yearly basis, and feel that it can never be enough that on a yearly basis a new set of widowed wives, husbands and children of slain officers are paraded to the public, all while we know their fate, especially in situations where these deceased were breadwinners.

Since the beginning of the current year, it is reported that 33 police officers had been killed on duty thus far, meaning in the coming year 33 or more family members will again go through the same process of being paraded.

This trend has been taking place while there has not been any plan by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to minimise incidents of police killings, and our calls for a Policing Indaba have clearly fallen on deaf ears.

Worth noting is that the above fugue of the 33 members exclude those killed off duty, and those injured on duty; the majority of whom are now disabled without any benefits from the SAPS.

While there is the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) which aims to provide compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees, or for death resulting from injuries or diseases, and provide for matters connected therewith, most members agree that their contribution is far too little.

With these losses of lives while on duty, immediate families continue to receive a death grant of R250k, an amount that has not changed since its inception, with the expectation that it will assist in taking the kids of these slain officers through schooling in the main.

This amount is a disgrace, and way lesser than what the 23 squad members Banyana Banyana team, our national pride, were promised of R400 000 each for winning the recent continental tournament.

In essence, what each of this team got for participating in 6 games, our deceased officers’ families get way less than that while the deceased have worked day and night to ensure the safety and security of our communities, and ultimately ending up being killed.

Experience relayed by most deceased members’ families is that these death grants have proven not to be sustainable in the long-term, leaving behind immediate families of these officers under worse conditions, and unable to fund their kids’ schooling needs and addressing other basic family needs.

The situation is even worse now with the high cost of living and the increased unemployment rate, while even those employed feel the pinch.

POPCRU  has always maintained that this amount is insufficient as statistics show that most of the police officers who are killed while on duty are young, most only starting to establish families with huge responsibilities while earning salaries that are out of touch with the risks they take daily.

We call upon the Minister of Police to urgently review and increase danger allowance for public service act appointees,  which has been stagnant at R400 since 2001, whereas in line with the signed Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) agreement, the initial allowance was supposed to have been increased yearly with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), including the cost-of-living adjustments and the frequency of the dangers these officers find themselves. In line with this agreement, it supposed to be standing at R1500.

With the same vigour and energy the Minister is known made out to possess,  and in making these ceremonial events meaningful, the government and his department should urgently work on establishing and implementing a danger insurance for all public servants.

This danger insurance will serve as a step towards improving their circumstances.

Attending ceremonial events which keep adding names to the wall of remembrance is a sad reminder about the number of police we lose on a yearly basis, and we would celebrate the decrease of names on this wall.

As we honour our fallen heroes and heroines posthumously for their sacrifices tomorrow, we must work towards strengthening community-police relations and bring strategic stakeholders on board to bolster the efforts of police to bring down the levels of serious and violent crime, and government must renew its commitments of ensuring the criminal justice cluster is empowered through reversing austerity measures, the full implementation of a PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018, the development and implementation of a promotion policy and grade progression, the provision of the tools of trade and the incorporation of all PSA appointed members into the SAPS Act among others.

Our members in the criminal justice cluster are agitated by the continued loss of their colleagues, and need real that will ensure practical measures in reducing the numbers of police being killed and injured, regardless of whether they are on or off duty.

Issued by POPCRU

For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349